Poetry of Unknown Words

Susan Johanknecht & Katharine Meynell
2012 - 2017 Edition of 20 copies numbered and signed copies of which 10 are for sale to public collections. 

This work addresses issues found in Iliadz's Poésie de Mots Inconnus (1949) investigating connections between notation and movement, sound and text. Taking the expanded format of Poésie de Mots Inconnus our collaborative project, Poetry of Unknown Words is a feminising response. As Kate Eichhorn says in The Archival Turn in Feminism the archive is not a place to recover the past but "…to engage with some of the legacies, epistimes and traumas pressing down on the present". Our interest in the artifact, rather than the signifying text/image alone, gives us the opportunity to understand historical context through material means - choreographing movement through the folding of the page and using phonic texts that compel sounding out loud.

Exhibitions: National Poetry Library, London, South Bank Centre, Women of the World 2012; Five Years Gallery, London, Five sheets at Five Years 2014; Ditchling Museum 2018

In the Special Collections of: Yale University Library; National Art Library, V&A; University of Vermont; British Library

Presentations about this project have been held at: College Art Association, New York; The Yale Library Special Collections, New Haven; Middlesex University; Book Live! conference, South Bank University; PAGES Leeds, International Contemporary Artists' Book Fair; NORLIT 2015: The Book to Come, Gothenburg, Sweden; The Object in Focus TECHNE, Royal Holloway University of London; Thinking and Feeling Plymouth University; OEI 71/72 launch at Tender Books, London 2016.