@writing
@writing · 1:40

Words in Sight - Shloka Shankar on the intersection of Visual Art and Poetry.

article image placeholderBy Shloka Shankar, Visual Poet and Artist
Shloka Shankar is hard to pin down. She is a writer and visual artist from Bangalore who enjoys experimenting with Japanese short forms and myriad found poetry techniques alike. A Best of the Net nominee and awardwinning Haiku poet, her poems and artwork have recently appeared in Burning House Press, Contemporary Hygiene Online, Federal, a Journal of poetry and art, among many others. Shloka is also the founding editor of Sonic Boom and its imprint Yavanika Press, and also the senior editor for Humankind Journal

https://www.shlokashankar.com/

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@shloka.shankar
Shloka Shankar
@shloka.shankar · 1:36
So the predominant elements that usually constitute a visible poem or a visual poem include non Representational language. And more crucially, I would say, it is the interplay of text in art that comes together. And in these cases, you will often notice that there is a strong graphic element that is seen. And as Professor Willard Bond notes, visual poetry is simply a genre of poetry that presupposes a viewer as well as a reader
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@writing
@writing · 0:25

Why Visual Poetry?

Thank you so much for breaking that down so beautifully for us. Shloka. So my next question to you is this why visual poetry? Why not visual art and poetry? And what drew you to this particular form of art? As a writer and as an artist, I would love to know the story behind that
@writing
@writing · 0:16

Role of VisPo in the landscape of contemporary art

Also Shloka. What a CITIC function? Do you see visual poetry serving in the overall landscape of contemporary art and literature? I would love to pick your thoughts on this one
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@shloka.shankar
Shloka Shankar
@shloka.shankar · 1:50

@writing

Love that question. Ramiya. Thank you. I've always been fascinated by hybrids and this sort of crossing over a genres and works that defy any sort of strict categorization. And you can find and examples of such pieces, even in the Journal that I edit called Sonic Room. So what happens is by drawing the viewer or reader into what I call that liminal space by art and poetry intersect
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@shloka.shankar
Shloka Shankar
@shloka.shankar · 3:40

Aesthetic value of vispo

And this is also a move by Amanda to question the kind of representation that women artists get in galleries today because it's less than 25% or 20%. And Amanda has very painstakingly created a list of thousand. I'm not kidding you a thousand women artists who are making visual poetry today. So this is definitely survival and pathbreaking. And right now they have also created a campaign, a crowdfunding campaign to fund the printing of the book
@writing
@writing · 0:14

What is it like to make a visual poem?

Thank you so much for that look up. So what is it like to make a visual poem? Does the form appear before the words do? Or is it the other way around? I've always wondered
@Swell
Swell Team
@Swell · 0:15

Welcome to Swell!

@writing
@writing · 0:27

A layperson's interpretation of VisPo

Also, for someone who's unfamiliar with visual poetry, how would you kind of, you know, instruct them or guide them to read or view or interpret any form of visual and poetry? Because I know it's kind of a tricky question because art is so subjective and personal. But I still would love to know your thoughts on this
@shloka.shankar
Shloka Shankar
@shloka.shankar · 2:15

How I create my vispo

Whisper can actually go on to include needlework patterns, letter press, and even Arabic calligraphy. When I create my Editors, the poem comes first and then I create a background to go with it. In the case of haiga, like I mentioned earlier, it is a Japanese short form of poetry
@shloka.shankar
Shloka Shankar
@shloka.shankar · 1:21

Engaging with the art

Indeed, Ramya, all art is subjective, and I'm afraid Whisper is no exception. Of course, some works are more readily understood, while others may pose more complex questions or can even leave you unsettled depending on the intention of the artist. So there is no right way or formula to interpret it a risk for. But I think once you're aware of a particular artist over, then it does become easier in one sense, where you have a backstory that could serve as your cheat sheet
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@writing
@writing · 0:24
Thank you so much for that. Look. But do tell us about the interaction of your art and your poems. Have you always combined the two media, or is it something that that you started when you began experimenting with visual poetry? Would love to know
@writing
@writing · 0:20
And this last question of mine might sound a bit silly, but how skilled do you need to be to create visual poetry? Is it just for artists, or can anyone do it? Eyes? Someone like me do it. I would love to know your thoughts
@shloka.shankar
Shloka Shankar
@shloka.shankar · 2:13

reflect light in little does: a mini gluebook (https://s.swell.life/SSSrGOL

A visual poem is also something I experimented with, and I liked the idea of combining the basic elements of design and composition along with text, specifically sound text. In late 2019, I created an artist's book titled Reflect Light in Little Doses, a flip through of which is available on YouTube. This mini book combines collage and sound poetry to form a loose narrative
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@shloka.shankar
Shloka Shankar
@shloka.shankar · 2:17

Visual Poetry Workshops

I am so glad you went ahead and asked me this question, Ramya. And first off, there's no such thing as a silly question. One of the main reasons I conduct my sound and visual poetry workshops is to introduce, introduce more people to these unique and fun forms of writing and creating. I walk them through every single step and show them plenty of examples by contemporary artists
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