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Unpoems, Poems by Ed Sams
What are unpoems?
Poems are read in order to see images through written words. Unpoems are images that show what we see in order to read. To read, readers must navigate through the many signals and signs, both visible and invisible, to find meaning in all the symbols that make up writing. Unpoems, as concrete poetry, playfully give the image without the tyranny of words controlling what we see. Unpoems remind us of all the cues and pauses, the entrances and exits, we use to play our parts in these comedies along the printed page.
"Part post-modern art project, part word game, part epic journey, Unpoems from veteran storyteller Ed Sams somehow manages to be completely abstract and completely concrete at the same time. Simultaneously simpler and more complex than you think it is, what Sams attempts to do in this book is impossible-for everyone but him. And I've already said more-and less-than I should."-Anne Jennings Paris, Killing George Washington
"While Ed Sams calls his witty creations 'unpoems,' he has returned to the root of the word poem-poíēma, something made. At the same time, he posits that what is made need not necessarily contain words. I enjoyed these-more than a few had me chuckling with surprised delight. Fun!" -Kevin Arnold, past President, Poetry Center San Jose and author of The Sureness of Horses
"Part Buddhist koan, part-text-based emoticon, the clever mashup of text and image found in Unpoems, Ed Sams's innovative collection are more than puzzles to solve. Each piece engages the reader in its meaning-making by use of narrative elision and spare visual cues, title and pictogram working together as a sort of hybrid haiku. Sams reveals how much can be said with so little, demonstrating language's surprising fluidity. With 'unpoems' that are at turns witting and moving, Unpoems is not only worth the read, it belongs on everyone's coffee table: 'Good to the Last Drop.' Unforgettable."-Sally Ashton, author of The Behaviour of Clocks