July 2, 2005

Christian Bök

Saturday, July 2, 2005
7:30 pm

New American Art Union
922 SE Ankeny Street

*$5-15 sliding scale*

Renowned Canadian author, artist, linguist, and virtuoso sound poet Christian Bök will make a rare appearance in Portland on Saturday, July 2nd, 2005.

Christian Bök is the author not only of Crystallography (Coach House Press, 1994), a pataphysical encyclopedia nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, but also of Eunoia (Coach House Press, 2001), a work of experimental literature that has become a Canadian bestseller, and which has gone on to win the Griffin Prize for Poetic Excellence. Bök has created artificial languages for two television shows (Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict and Peter Benchley's Amazon), earned global recognition for his virtuoso performances of sound poetry (particularly the Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters), and has exhibited conceptual artworks at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York (including books built out of Rubik’s cubes and Lego bricks). Bök is currently a Professor of English at the University of Calgary.

Christian Bök's contribution to the Spare Room reading series will be far from ordinary. His linguistic contortions not only generate sounds unfamiliar to the ear, they also exhibit an exhaustive contemplation of the limits of language. (His poem "And Sometimes," for example, is a high-speed articulation of every English word that does not contain the vowels a, e, i, o, and u).

Bök states, "Whatever kind of research or experimental activity I’m indulging in is totally informed by a playful and whimsical dimension. It’s supposed to be fun, interesting, and stimulating." Although his speech sounds range from a sputtering motor to an alien hymn, the content is also literary. Spare Room invites you to a night with "a Dada bard as daft as Tzara."

To hear performances by Christian Bök, and for additional bio/bibliographical information and links to his writings, please see the Christian Bök author pages at PennSound, and at the Electronic Poetry Center.