Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Poor. Old. Tired. Horse

There's only one horse in our fields. He hangs out by the gate- which is where any visitors he might have will arrive.

"Poor old tired horse," I think.

And one thing suggests another....

Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. was the name of a little magazine published by my friend Ian Hamilton Finlay between1962 and 1968. He mainly published what was then called Concrete Poetry. It was a very small, homemade magazine (originally costing ninepence)- but Finlay was well connected and important writers like Robert Lax and Edwin Morgan submitted work. Concrete poetry is a misleading term which suggests brutalism- when that's the last thing it's about. Concrete poems aspire to be visually interesting- and the first pieces to use the name were produced by chaps in Germany and Brazil  noodling about with typewriters and making blocky patterns on the page.  Things progressed from there- and by the time the movement had run through all the possibilities- which didn't take long- its practitioners were producing poems that were also fine art prints or sculpture- or- in Finlay's case- sundials.  The magazine's mood is playful, whimsical, romantic- and for all its internationalism- very Scottish. It's charming in a way that makes me think of Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses- (and I don't think Finlay would have been insulted because he honoured his Scottish forebears.) At worst it's twee and inconsequential. An enormous number of the poems- both Finlay's and those of his contributors- are about fishing boats and the sea. Like many cutting edge artistic movements Concrete Poetry was intensely conservative.

The entire run of the magazine is available online here
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