A recent and major addition to the Bury Art Museum collection and Text Art Archive is an original edition of Robert Grenier’s Sentences.
The seminal L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry artwork is a case of 500 5″ x 8″ index cards each with a short typewritten poem, or sentence.
Bury Art Museum and the Text Art Archive have bought Edition of ‘W’ of a newly discovered batch of 26 that were printed at the same time as the original 1978 print run of 200, but lost until 2011.
Grenier has said that the unbound index cards are an homage to Robert Creeley’s, ‘Pieces’ which Grenier said accomplished steady sounding of the voiced process and real-time experience. (See/hear interview between Grenier and Charles Bernstein).
Of the 500 cards there is no relation of one poem to another – apart from the ‘fictions’ makes when read when made. Also, in Grenier’s performances of the work we can hear the sound quality and verbal events that each card brings about. Each utterance is an obscure, limited sentences that introduces a possibility wide field of possibilities.
They are very literal, simple words that have a projective capacity and in the way of sound poetry, create an extra-linguistic “reality”’.
Most of the poem cards were written in New Hampshire where there was “lots of white space around”.
Over the next few weeks I will interview Gallery Directory, Tony Trehy and Grenier researcher, James Davies (both poets themselves influenced by Grenier) to find out more about what this acquisition means to the Bury Art collection and the Text Art Archive, and also to practitioners in the UK.