poetry by design: a re-appraisal of visual poetics

July 15, 2019

Barrie has been invited to speak at the Poetry By Design symposium on visual and concrete poetry. Its aim is to stimulate conversations about visual poetics from the immediate pre-computer period while also considering the present moment and the futures of visual poetry.

This event coincides with the exhibition, ‘Poetry By Design’, which is open now until 23rd August in the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds. Curated by Professor Fiona Becket and Dr Emma Trott, the exhibition displays work by poets including Bob Cobbing, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Dom Sylvester Houédard and Kimberly Campanello.

Please get in touch with Emma Trott with any questions: e.j.g.trott@leeds.ac.uk

Poetry By Design: schedule

9:30: Registration and coffee (Sheppard Room)

9:55: Welcome (Fiona Becket) (Education Room)

10:00: Panel I: (Education Room). Barrie Tullett – The Typographic Dante, Iris Colomb – Spill: showing and discussing a project between poetry and design

10:45: Panel II: (Education Room), Bronac Ferran – Hansjörg Mayer’s futura, Fiona Becket – Bob Cobbing, a British Internationalist, Natalie Ferris – The Intelligent Hand: Ana Hatherly and Visualising the Creative Act

12:00: Panel III: (Education Room), Julie Morrissy – “Looking and Listening”: Movement, Space, and Performance in Contemporary Irish Poetry, Florence Impens – The poem and the Archive: Kimberly Campanello’s MOTHERBABYHOME

12:45: Exhibition ‘tour’ and Q&A (Fiona Becket) (Education Room)

2pm: Panel IV: (Education Room), Alice Tarbuck – ‘‘An old frog/ jumps in’: Chinese and Japanese poetry in the work of Thomas A. Clark and Cid Corman’, Emma Trott – Language and Landscape: Simon Armitage’s Stanza Stones

2:45pm: Panel V: (Education Room), Greg Thomas – Poem Machines: Liliane Lijn, John Goodby – Purity, pop-up and performance: Peter Meilleur / Childe Roland and Anglo-Welsh-Quebecois concrete poetry

4pm: Roundtable (Workshop Theatre)

4:30pm: Readings: (Workshop Theatre), Sascha Aurora Akhtar, Vahni Capildeo, Kimberly Campanello

5:30pm: Finish


today is a truly blessed day, i have found a typewriter and cannot leave.

July 13, 2019

The Typographic Dante exhibition at the NCCD is now open to the public, and it looks absolutely wonderful.

It really is a delight to have the work showcased in its own space at the gallery.

The vitrines contain examples of sketchbooks and development work going back three decades.

As well as various editions of the Divine Comedy and other books inspired by it (apologies for the shadow).


A (working) typewriter from Barrie’s collection is part of the show, and it has proven to be very popular with visitors to the gallery (see the example above for the title of this post). Apparently, a few of the younger members of the staff team did need an induction into how to use the machine (‘It’s got margins and tabs… like Word!’).

The show is on in the Roof Gallery (4th floor) until the 13th of October and Barrie will be talking about the project at the Poetry by Design symposium at the University of Leeds, this Thursday (18th July).

intriguing and peculiar

July 6, 2019

At the Southbank Centre, London, Barrie is currently ‘free and cheap’, and as of today, at the National Centre for Craft & Design, he’s ‘intriguing and peculiar’… and also one of Design Week’s Picks of the Month.

The Typographic Dante show is on at the South Bank Centre (Level 5 Lounge/Members Area) over the Summer and at the NCCD (4th Floor Gallery) until October.


As well as the typographic illustrations themselves, the exhibition at the NCCD contains some of the various editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy that Barrie has used as reference material and inspiration, his original sketchbooks from the Inferno and Purgatory series, examples of the materials he uses to create the images with – and – a typewriter should anyone feel the urge to make some art of their own.

national centre for craft and dante

July 2, 2019

The Typographic Dante exhibition is coming to the National Centre for Craft & Design (NCCD).

Opening on the 6th July, the show runs until the 13th October in the Roof Gallery on the 4th floor.

Work from the series is still on display in the South Bank Centre until September, which meant Barrie had to go through the entire set of prints going back 30 years to choose the set for the NCCD show.

He also took the opportunity to rework some pieces, including one of the earliest of the Purgatory images – Canto VII: The Rule of the Mountain. You can see a detail of the new illustration here, and the original drawing side by side with the new version.

On both occasions, the size of the sun was dictated by the roll of masking tape Barrie happened to have to hand. A new roll back in 2008 and an almost empty (different) roll in 2019.

It was also a chance to look at, reprint and extend the Paradise illustrations.

The work being prepped and sorted.

Ready for hanging.

Barrie would like to say a very big thank you to Lesley Farrell for inviting him to exhibit his work at the NCCD, to the University of Lincoln for their financial support, Bradley Oliver-White for his technical skills, and Jantze for being there to help select, frame and plan the hanging.

longer in london

July 1, 2019

The Typographic Dante will be on show in London throughout the Summer.

The show is still on in the foyer outside the National Poetry Library and in the Members Lounge.

A big thank you to Chris McCabe and Paul O’Sullivan of the South Bank Centre for supporting the exhibition.

london’s best design event(s)

June 23, 2019

It’s official. Not only free (and cheap) but one of London’s best design events.

The Typographic Dante is on at the South Bank Centre until the end of the month.

More events can be found here: https://www.designcalendar.io/london/events.

And don’t forget, when you get there…

Thanks to Catherine Dixon for the photo.

eye on gundog

June 16, 2019

A big thank you to Eye Magazine for including Imogen Van Goethem’s lovely Artists’ Book GunDog in (Typographic) Noted #92.

We’ve made a few appearances in the blog over the years – in 2012 there was a pointed comment about our old website home page design (a series of colour roundels, with no obvious navigation), 2014 saw Robert Mason’s Other People’s Dogs get a mention, in 2010 Barrie wrote a piece called Electro Library Dreams, about the coming of age of El Lissitzky’s 1923 Manifesto and Word Disco‘s typographic frippery slipped into Books received #27 (type books). In 2012 the last British-made typewriter, the CM-1000, found a home in London’s Science Museum collection and coincidentally, Eye received Barrie’s Artists’ Book The Onion Merz Poem Number Eight, which was wrapped in a typewritten paper sleeve. Of course, it was.

The Typographic Dante exhibition in Dublin (2017) was featured in Bubbles Black as Ink, but our oldest mentions go to FlatPack and All Points North which were listed as far back as 2007.

More recently, in 2016, Jeremy Noel-Tod reviewed The New Concrete (Hayward Publishing), which Barrie was very proud to be a part of and finally, our student subscriptions were featured recently in Eye on Campus.

Not sure we’ve ever made it inside the actual magazine yet mind. Oh well, early days.

inferno and purgatory

June 14, 2019

Regular readers of our blog will know that Barrie has been working on an ongoing project for the last 30 years – and counting.

The Typographic Dante (currently on show at the National Poetry Library in London’s South Bank Centre) is a series of typographic illustrations – one for each of the 100 cantos of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

The 34 illustrations for The Inferno are made with Letterpress…

And the 33 illustrations for Purgatory are all made with Typewriters (and a number of coloured ribbons).

Paradise is still in progress (19 more cantos to go) and each one of those is created with Letraset.

abe books

June 14, 2019

The Caseroom Press makes Artists’ Books. Not money. Not that this is a problem, we do what we do for love, not lucre.

But occasionally, or books turn up on Abe – and someone is making money (well, potentially).

At the moment of posting, Alan Mason’s The Magazine: January is selling for a whole £4.70. Quite the bargain, even with postage. Alan was after a tenner on Big Cartel.

Issue 11 of The Case Magazine (Vivid), a personal favourite of all the issues we published over the years (it started its life way back at teh Edniburgh College of Art in 1995 and was the seed which grew into The Caseroom Press. It is now on sale for £22. A must have for the avid reader. With postage, it comes in at 5 times the original price, but still worth it.

Disappointingly there are three copies of Utopian Tales for sale (around £30 or thereabouts). Disappointing because there were only ever sixty-four copies made, one for each of the illustrators, one for Jack Zipes, one for the editor, Ken Cockburn, and one as a file copy for The Caseroom Press. This means that three of the illustrators didn’t like it so much they gave it away. You can read all about the project in a previous blog post if you’re interested.

Ken Cockburn will be no doubt pleased to know that the original book in the Overheard/Overlooked series is a snip at £40 (including postage). Ken sold them for about a fiver originally. As a freelance poet, he’s never going to make it into the Times’ Rich List, so if you’d like to donate £40 straight to him, we’ll send you a book free of charge.

Lastly, and by far the most impressive is Angus Reid’s The Book of Days – £250, plus postage… technically we’ve sold out, but I’m sure I can find a file copy for £250 – with free postage. Or, if you pay the train fare, Angus might even hand deliver it and give a reading from the book.

Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology is up there too – anything from £9–£70 if you’re interested. Barrie is so never going to get a royalties cheque.


June 14, 2019

Barrie’s latest Artists’ Book Danteggiare is a collection of translations into English of the first terza rima of Dante’s Inferno. It was inspired by a comment made by Chris McCabe at the National Poetry Library during the installation of The Typographic Dante exhibition.

The title is from an article written for Bookanista by Mika Provata-Carlone.

The book contains 94 translations from 1782–2018. The fact it took over 450 years to be translated into English is considered, in some part, to be due to Dante’s Catholic views being at odds with Protestant English audiences, who would have seen his vision of the afterlife as heretical.

The book is not complete – first three lines of about 20 translations currently elude Barrie. Eventually, they’ll be included in a second edition of the book – if you happen to have copies of the following editions to hand, please e-mail him and let him know what the first three lines are…

1862 William Patrick Wilkie

1895 Robert Urquhart

1898 Eugene Jacob Lee-Hamilton

1901 John Carpenter Garnier

1903 Edward Wilberforce

1911 Charles Edwin Wheeler

1914 Edith Mary Shaw

1915 Edward Joshua Edwardes

1922 Henry John Hooper

1931 Lacy Lockert

1948 Patrick Cummins

1949 Harry Morgan Ayres

1954 Howard Russell Huse

1956 Glen Levin Swiggett

1958 Mary Prentice Lillie

1962 Clara Stillman Reed

1965 William F. Ennis

1965 Aldo Maugeri