by Giancarlo Da Lio
Visual poetry has turned 50 yet it sometimes is still hardly accepted as a movement, even though art galleries, archives and art dealers have shown interest for it. 1963 is considered to be the year of birth of visual poetry, when the idea of creating a modern vernacular emerged in Florence. In this way, anybody could understand the language of poetry in the same way as anybody could understand commercials and the messages spread by the media. Furthermore, visual poetry made it possible for poetry to be exhibited and sold as it was a painting. This was a way to go beyond the book as media
and to overcome the challenges of the publishing market. All this happened during "the fabulous Sixties", this years when we discovered -or rather were imposed - Pop Art. They were also the years od Conceptual Art, of Fluxus, of the birth of Video Art, of happening and body art. For Italian visual poets, the journal "Poetic Fight" become the means to move away from local to international engagement and to meet European and American poets. Communications were also improved by worldwide broadcasting and direct dialling for phone calls. With this mind, the techniques used by visual poets - boards with free words and collage - could be considered as old-fashioned.
Nevertheless, visual poetry (sprung from avant-gard literature) managed to become an example of global art in time when typography had not gone trough any digital revolution yet.
Nowadays digital media bestow a completely different rage of possibilities and trigger the interaction among words, sounda and images. The synthesis between visual poetry and the traditional poetry based on sounds might have come. The borders of research are always in motion.