These three works by Dom Sylvester Houédard are important examples of Concrete Poetry, the 1960s countercultural movement in which abstract visual poems were composed as part of a performance event.

Houédard was born in Guernsey and studied history at Oxford. He later worked in Army intelligence before joining a monastery and being ordained a priest in 1959. In the early 1960s he emerged as a pioneer of Concrete Poetry. He composed his own poems – known as ‘typestracts’ – on an Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter. To Catch a White Man by his Manifestoe is an experimental print portfolio made as a collective work of art with students and printmakers at Bath Academy of Art, based at Corsham Court, Wiltshire, where he was a guest lecturer for three years during the 1960s. Nine students contributed to the portfolio of 16 prints, which was published by John Furnival’s Openings Press in an edition of 30 copies. Typestract 140469 and Splendid Weeping (pictured, and later transferred into a print by John Furnival) are examples of Houédard’s typestracts. All three works were made during the time Houédard taught at Corsham, a period when the art school was considered an important centre for Concrete Poetry. They now enter the collection of the Victoria Art Gallery, an institution which prioritises the acquisition of paintings, sculptures and prints by artists who taught at Bath Academy.


The Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry, Miami, U.S.A.

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