a book of contexts

by bpNichol

ART FACTS has affinities with a number of other collections of his poetry, including LOVE: A Book of Remembrances (Talonbooks, 1972) and ZYGAL: a book of mysteries & translations (Coach House, 1985) and TRUTH: a book of fictions (Mercury Press, 1993).

Nichol tended to work in series, and each of these books carried on long term series, and initiated others. ART FACTS continues his "Probable Systems" and untitled Basho series, both of them begun in the late 1960s. Some of these books also contain complete sets - some, such as "Ocean Song" conceived and produced quickly. Nichol's best known work remains his longpoem The Martyrology. Some see this as his major work, his Maximus or Cantos. My sense of this is that as important as The Martyrology is in its own right, Nichol was not a poet who wanted to pin too much on one poem or one type of poem, particularly given his love of starting new projects from the simplest materials possible, occasionally with a complete set in mind, but usually expecting to leave them open-ended, as they were, in their own odd way, almost open-beginninged.

Charles Alexander, the publisher of this book, and I selected these poems to cover as many approaches to poetry as possible from this book. The work presented here covers a wide range, but doesn't come near a comprehensive survey. However, in conjunction with the other work at Light and Dust and the passages from The Martyrology at Coach House, it makes a good start.

You can choose poems by link from this page, or you can start with the first and simply follow from one poem to the next (passing through the complete "Ocean Song" on the way) without returning to this page.

- Karl Young

first poem (untitled)

Ocean Song

Probable Systems 17

I.T.A.N.U.T.S. 1

Doors 1

Dreamed Anthology 4


untitled Basho variation

poema - proceso

Probable Systems 23

Basho Update

untitled poem, last in the book

The book is still in print, and you can order a copy from Chax Press.

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This is a cooperative publication of
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Light and Dust Mobile Anthology of Poetry