Vou : Visual Poetry, Tokio, 1958-1978
Taylor Mignon has lived in Tokyo for many years, and during that time he has built up an important collection of copies of the avant-garde magazine VOU, edited by the legendary Kitasono Katue. Although the magazine, originally founded in 1935, had long included visual images (the earliest one reproduced here dates from 1958), in the decade or so before Kitasonos death in 1978, the magazine became notable for the amount and quality of visual poetry it printed. VOU: Visual Poetry, Tokio, 19541978 is Taylors selection of work by nine leading contributors, along with his commentary on the poets and Eric Sellands introduction placing the work in its historical, cultural and political context.
From Eric Sellands Introduction to the book: This long-overdue publication fills a gap in the understanding of postwar Japanese poetry and the role of visual poetry in the avant-garde of Japans postwar period. It is a highly welcome book. The VOU Club was a group of outsider poet-artists with their roots in Japans Modernist avant-garde of the 1930s who were an active part of Japans tumultuous 1960s and 1970s.
The work included in this selection has been cared for and preserved by Taylor Mignon and a handful of other people without whose efforts it would have fallen into oblivion. It is hoped that this publication will bring about more awareness of Japans dynamic experimental tradition in poetry during the twentieth century.