Following the beautiful collection of Laurie Clark’s floral watercolours, David Bellingham has curated a collection of Robert Lax’s concrete poetry in his regular spot on our mezzanine level. Lax’s paired back work follows on nicely from Clark, as it too combines elemental themes with simple colours.
Lax began his career writing for the New Yorker and as film-critic for Time Magazine. He then worked as a lecturer at the University of North Carolina, but lost his job for giving out As to students ‘for trying as hard as they could.’ Following his dismissal he spent time working as part of a film crew and with a travelling circus for a number of years. He finally settled in Greece, living out his days in near isolation.
This sense of pleasant drifting is encapsulated in Lax’s poems which Julian Mitchell describes as ‘against hurry, against rush. They make you slow down, stop, look, listen: contemplate.’ The poems often contain very few words, often repeated with very subtle changes. Lax also turned his hand to performance, and influenced by his poetry he composed an ‘hour-long Black/White Oratorio using only nine colour-words and ‘and’, to be performed by a chorus of nine to fifteen people.’