41 • Lawrence Upton



on a text by Chris Funkhouser

from the introduction:

Almost everything, over and above the initial tearing, trampling and tangling of the image was done by me, quite deliberately, as I used the copier, by breaking with common sense and / or the copier's manual. At that stage, very little was produced and very little was thrown away. The initial run of images ran to 31, which was cut down to 24 by selection; and , of the remaining 24, 11 were changed by tearing away unwanted material before being recopied. Xerolage 41 - Lawrence UptonThe aim was to get as near as possible to an improvisation in real time. The second session was much shorter. This time, I had 11 sheets; each had an attached note with a brief action-prompt. The copier made the 11 copies and that was that. The two sets of finished images were then sorted together. The title, Scat Songs, came late.

What I aimed for, retrospectively, in Scat Songs was to get 24 varying images with 24 presses of the <copy> button. 42 presses isn't bad. Maybe I'll improve on that in make any future copier poem.

Yet such an improvement would not necessarily make the result aesthethically better or worse. It's just a constraint, like any other, to encourage concentration, a taking of structural form into poetic procedures, which I tilt.


Lawrence Upton has been doing amazing things with sound and words since 1972. He's still going strong. His words ring out through the entrepreneurial hype of the web.
—Chris Meade in Digital Livings

Lawrence Upton is now a major figure in contemporary British poetry. That increasing stature is partly due to the belated, but now blossoming, publication of his work. Partly due also to the diversity of his practice.
—cris cheek at British Electronic Poetry Centre

"The electronic poetry field is wide between purely programmed art... and all alternatives of computer-assisted art. I think in particular of the new breath gained by sound poetry, masterly performed by Lawrence Upton. It was to me an enthusiastic illustration of what can be done by mixing analog and digital media."
—(Patrick-Henri Burgaud on e-poetry, 2005)


Lawrence Upton is prolific in a variety of writing genres including those which use machines.
He has collaborated with many artists including cris cheek, Bob Cobbing, Alaric Sumner, Rory McDermott, and latterly John Levack Drever

His main works with Cobbing are Domestic Ambient Noise (1994-2000) and Collaborations for Peter Finch (1997). The two co-edited Word Score Utterance Choreography in verbal and visual poetry (1998).

Work with John Levack Drever includes Crowded; Close to the Literal and Verbal Iteration. Full list at: http://lawrenceupton.org/data/collab_JD.html

Other publications by Upton include Sculptural calligraphy (2006); Cumbria #7 as a possible audio dance score (2006); HUMAN TISSUE: Sad Songs (2006); Slow violence (2006); QEV (2005); networking (2004); the group splits apart (2004); Wakefield's diary (2004); possibles (2004); Cumbria poems (2003); San' (2003); Wire Sculptures (2003); 11 poems (2003); Initial dance (2001); Meadows (2000); huming / queuing (1999)

From May 2008, Lawrence Upton is AHRC Research Fellow, Department of Music, Goldsmiths College, University of London.




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