poet files #14

still from Flux Film 001 | Morse from Proper Medium on Vimeo (which won’t embed).

You know those signs you see flyposted up by the road sometimes? How to earn a million working from home in your spare time, or the best plumber in town, or some weird random sale, like records or coats? Well, if you’re in Atlanta, you should start reading them again.

Funded by Flux Projects, John Morse has printed up 500 corrugated plastic “bandit signs’ (in the perfect visual style, after the manner of the Abstract Expressionists’ love of pre-DTP Letraset lettering) and posted them in locations around Atlanta, Georgia. Instead of offering to buy your house, though, they bear cleverly disguised haiku messages for the betterment of modern life. Of course, they’re not purist; they don’t mention the season, or reflect on the passage of time, for example. But it’s a season of the mind.

I also love where the artist says this is great because people will read his poetry. The floodgates could be opening here… come on people!

If you’re near Atlanta, you have till the end of October (I believe) to see them, as long as Peggy Denby of “Keep Atlanta Beautiful” doesn’t get her way. She says they are “litter on a stick” and has threatened fines and all sorts of the signs are not removed forthwith. Mr Morse won’t be taking them down but he is very happy for people to steal them, saying it is the ultimate compliment. The signs are all signed, numbered and dated, and if any lovely person wanted to send me one, I’d be very happy indeed.

And if you’re elsewhere in the world and you see a good one, read it carefully. Scan its syllables. It could be the work of a John Morse copycat.

We constantly hear in the poetry world that no one likes poetry, that poetry is ‘dead’. Poppycock. Poetry is in fact everywhere: wherever you go, if you scratch the surface you find a poet. Poet Files is an exclusive series in which Baroque in Hackney scrutinises the unlikely, and finds the secret poetry lurking there. Look for it every Saturday.

Previous post:

Next post: