Poems 1972 - 1977
by Scott Helmes
These poems were selected from what Scott Helmes considers his first "official" book of poetry. Like many of the best visual poets in the U.S., Helmes took a long, slow apprenticeship, and has worked quietly and carefully, publishing his work primarily through a network of friends and in a few magazines such as Kaldron. Even the present fine-press edition consists only of 50 copies. I'm pleased to be able to extend the audience of this edition via the world wide web, as an example of how small edition books can reach a larger audience, and, more importantly, to introduce Helmes's work to a larger readership.
In 1972, I sat at an old Smith-Corona typewriter and quickly pounded out a number of poems. These poems were based upon the combination of visible mathematics and everyday language. It seems so long ago, yet still so unresolved.
Two years later, I happened upon a rubber stamp alphabet at a flea market for $3.00. I bought them because I thought I could play with them and make concrete works similar to the new language I had recently seen in some publications. Inadvertently this also sparked a large vintage stamp collection.
By 1976, my work was first accepted for publication. This volume, however, represents my first real book other than self-publication of fewer than twenty copies.
In the late 70s I met Ruth and Marvin Sackner and Richard Kostelanetz. They, along with Karl Kempton and Kay Arndt, have been critical supporters of my work for which I am continually grateful.
Since then I've gone quietly about the pleasure of making poems in non-traditional way and still prefer to let the work be on its own with a minimum of fanfare or explanation.
And now I am delighted to be able to share these poems with you and hope you find them to your interest and liking.
Introduction copyright © 1997 by Scott Helmes
from Poems 1972 - 1997
Stamp Pad Press
Light and Dust Anthology of Poetry.
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