This one slipped under the net: a book on British
Benedictine monk, scholar, translator and concrete poet Dom
Sylvester Houédard has been published. Notes From The Cosmic
Typewriter includes essays by David Toop, Gustavo Grandal
Montero, Rick Poynor, and Charles Verey, plus Houédard's concrete
poems (which he called 'typestracts'), produced on an Olivetti
typewriter, as well as previously unpublished performance scores.
Houédard, who also went under the moniker dsh, became a monk in 1959 after serving in British Army intelligence, and was ordained as a priest ten years later. From the early 60s he became a leading practitioner of concrete poetry using a technique he began developing in the 40s, which he saw as being linked to ancient traditions of shaped verse. He said: "During 1945 I realised the typewriter's control of verticals and horizontals, balancing its mechanism for release from its own imposed grid, and offered possibilities that suggested (I was in India at the time) the grading of Islamic calligraphy from cursive (naskhi) writing through cufic to the abstract formal arabesque, that 'wise modulation between being and not being'."
More details on the book here.
(Image: Dom Sylvester Houédard, Figuur, 1964. Courtesy Ruth & Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry via Occasional Papers)