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Unit 6 Lecture

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English 2060E

Barrie Phillip Nichol b 1944Biography bpNichol was born in September 30 1944 in Vancouver BCHe died in Toronto ON on September 25 1988Nichols writing is by definition engaged with a phenomenon he called borderblur in his lifetime he wrote somewhere between poetry novels short fiction childrens books musical scores comic book art collageassemblage and computer textsNichol was also an inveterate collaborator working with the sound poetry ensemble The Four Horsemen Nichol Rafael BarretoRivera Paul Dutton and Steve McCaffery with Steve McCaffrey as part of the Toronto Research Group TRG with the visual artist Barbara Caruso and with countless other writers Nichol also had and continues to have a large presence on screens of various sizesIn the mid1980s he became a writer for the childrens television show Fraggle Rock produced by Jim HensonHis early work in sound was documented by Michael Ondaatjes short film Sons of Captain Poetry see the reference in CWBKA second fulllength film on Nichol bp pushing the boundaries directed by Brian Nash was completed in the 1990sNichol also appears in Ron Manns film Poetry in Motion Though Nichols initial attempts at writing in the early 1960 produced fiction and lyric poetry he first garnered international attention with his handdrawn concrete and visual poemsThese texts work brilliantly against the conventions of the traditional lyric poem by exploring the material tangible and aural qualities of the work and the letterNot surprisingly Nichols work with the aural qualities of language led him to sound poetry resulting in the release of four solo audio recordings Nichols first major collection of concrete poetry Konfessions of an Elizabethan Fan Dancer marked the beginning of a long engagement with the typewriter and its unique ability to mechanically reproduce letters an exact distance apartIn other words the gridlike qualities of typewritten text allowed Nichol to create meaning semantically and horizontally as well as visually and verticallySoon after Nichol was boxing and publishing loose pages of concrete in bp Still Water and an edited collection The Cosmic Chef An Evening of ConcreteWhile Nichols concrete poems illustrate an astonishing range of techniques and concerns other early works such as ABC the aleph beth book and Aleph Unit point to his lifelong interest in representing process by gradually transforming series of lettershapes Exemplifying the dictum spelled out in the Statement printed on the back of bp that there are no barriers in art Nichol won the 1970 Governor Generals Award for poetry with not one but four publications the prose booklet The True Eventual Story of Billy the Kid the collection of lyric poems Beach Head the boxed
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