Coco Gordon: a note about a cover work – F. Aprile, Abc asemic book 2016-2020

Coco Gordon: a note about a cover work – F. Aprile, Abc asemic book 2016-2020, Achill Island (Ireland), RedFox Press, 2020


The red lifting into air postal box is a symbol of the hundreds of US postal boxes being uprooted in the US right now by an unscrupulous president’s need to stop democratic voting and institute autocracy- can poesia visiva save democracy? I find new humanities in new art & poetry expressions…
(Coco Gordon)

Francesco Aprile, Code Poems 2010-2019, Post-Asemic Press, 2020


Introduction by Volodymyr Bilyk

Never underestimate the grind of technological progress. You never know what is coming, but you will be crushed by sheer laws-of-physics-defying weight of the surprise. That’s the thing you need to be aware of upon reading this book. One of the benefits of writing poetry is that you don’t really need to write what is generally considered to be poetry. In one way or another, you need to explore and apply aesthetic qualities and features of languages and use whatever tools that can help with accomplishing that task. From this perspective – computer code is pretty much a perfect medium for making poetry. You don’t need to do anything else and if everything comes together just right – poetry happens. Just like a swiss army knife poetry can transform code in a way that moves deeply into territory of unknown. Code poetry is a leap beyond. Paul N. Edwards wrote “computers are language machines”, except their understanding of language is more practical. Code is utilitarian, functional, it has a definite purpose. It makes sense. But when code is applied not as a functional element but as a thing-in-itself – it moves above and beyond. The result is something different, something that resembles regular code but is fundamentally different in its modus operandi. In a way, code poetry creates a paradox – it is a poem written in programming language that operates beyond the programming language’s function and designed for outsider’s perspective. That kind of beyond is within the reaches of the human mind but you have accepted it for what it is. In the human mind, code poetry is like desolate remains of borderline unknown, misinterpreted or semi-studied civilizations. The only thing you are left with are speculations and ruminations. As such, you need to go into this book open-minded. Let it do its job and make you surprised.


This book is a collection of “Code poems” that the author wrote between 2010 and 2019. He used different languages: pseudocode, Html with Javascript, Css, Php and Laravel, found code, command-line executions and git, errors log from Katalon, Mvn and Katalium. The recent history of writing provides a large part of the context for the reception of the information technology in literature. After a high school diploma about information technology, the author studied Science of Philosophy. During degree course, he matured the idea to work on relations between code and poetry. His first research in this field takes the name of “Poetic algorithm” (2010). With his first poetic algorithm, written in pseudocode, he won in 2016 the Source Code Poetry Challenge in “Most artistic” category. Code poems are cracks in the technical workflow, a poetic manumission in a language that is stranger for the poetry. Codes reveal the differential state of themselves as writing and poem, but these are always codes.

Francesco Aprile “ABC ASEMIC BOOK 2016-2020”

Francesco Aprile
“ABC ASEMIC BOOK 2016-2020”

40 asemic poems.
A6 format (10.5×15 cm / 4 x 6″) – 44 pages
Hardcover, thread and quarter cloth binding
Laser printing on ivory paper.
August 2020 Price: 15 euro / 20 US $ / 13 UK Sterling

Introduction by Bill DiMichele

A crimson slash opens this chapter, vivid contrasts of red and black, of blood and bruises. The alphabet, real or imagined, (or if you prefer, real AND imagined) makes appearances on each of these pages, letters bursting their stitches and being bonked on the head. Dude’s got some serious wounds, body hits all over the place. A battle-hardened vet of the Visual Poetry wars. (Bill DiMichele)


10th Anniversary – Best of Tip of the Knife, Issue 34 – In memory of Bill DiMichele

A special issue of Tip of the Knife celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first issue
Introduction by Crag Hill

I first met Bill DiMichele in 1983 at Graphic Reproduction, located amidst the grit and grime of 6th and Mission, in San Francisco. The business served local, state, and national architects and engineers, including multinational company Bechtel, who at the time was building a power plant—or something like that—in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I was a camera operator in the photo lab, toiling in the red-lit darkrooms in the basement. When Bill was hired as a salesman, I was the one tapped to bring him up to speed on the photo department’s role in the reprographic process.

Some of us in the photo department did not think very highly of the sales force—suit dudes, we called them. One, the turnover in that position was high; we were always being shadowed so that the salespeople could learn about how the products the company sold were made. Two, few of them understood—or were interested in—the photographic process. More than once I had to explain how we could not do—photography could not do—what the customers were asking us to do, but the suit dudes insisted we could and that we should do it as a rush order to boot. There was a class divide for sure.

            Though Bill was surely the coolest dressed suit dude in the building—and probably South of Market—daily dashing in a mix of punk and new wave, I did not trust him at first. (Bill, I found out later, did understand the reprographic process and was interested in photography as an artist, even more so than as a salesman). But then we started talking about music (Glenn Branca, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, maybe Sonic Youth), then art (abstract expressionism, Robert Rauschenberg, Survival Research Labs, the mail art I was beginning to engage with).

We both recognized the artistic potential of the detritus of the photolab, found landscapes and mindscapes in half-developed mylar and photostats, cutup/cutoff language and image, as well as in the litter around the neighborhood and up and down nearby Market Street. We started making art of it together after a couple of weeks, collage after collage, conversation after conversation. That’s how quickly that friendship and long-time artistic collaboration ignited.

Then we started talking about poetry. I shared the publications mIEKAL aND and Liz Was were churning out through then Xerox Sutra Editions, their books always a rush of combinatory text and image, slanted, slashed, and blurred by frenetic manipulation on the xerox machine. This work struck a chord with Bill. An artist who saw more in an image than most artists, Bill was on fire, a fire that did not dim for the rest of his life.

For a dozen years, Laurie Schneider and I had the joy of working with Bill on Score, a magazine of concrete and visual poetry. We loved sitting around a table—or more likely on our knees on the floor, Bill’s preferred working posture—shuffling issues together. He knew what he liked and, rapid-fire, he could articulate why and how an individual piece fit not only in the scope of the issue we were envisioning but also how that piece interacted with—energized—other pieces we were considering. I learned from Bill how to grow an issue organically, seeing and marking connections and layering between the pieces, rather than presenting the contributions in alphabetic order according to the artist’s last name or some other arbitrary arrangement. Bill could see and hear and think like no one else I knew and always at a speed I loved to catch up to as soon as I could, even if when I did my eyes were breathless and slightly singed.

10 years ago, May 2010, Bill fired up Tip of the Knife. You can see in the entire run of 33 issues, and in this selection made by Julie DiMichele and Will DiMichele for issue 34, that Bill sought visual poetry from around the world that burned bright and dark, made up of everything under the sun, whatever is necessary to speak to/of the powers we possess that no government entity can ever seize. In this issue, found art (Sacha Archer, Mark Young, Texas Fontanella), digital writing (Jeff Crouch and Diana Magallón-Tanaga, Peter Ciccariello, Karl Kempton, Nico Vassilakis, Marco Giovenale), bookart (Marilyn Rosenberg, Dave Columbus), drawing and ink collaborations (John M. Bennett and Jim Leftwich), collage (Joel Chace, David Felix), text and collage (Mark Russell, mIEKAL aND, Laurie Schneider), collage and rubbing (Francisco Aprile), collage and spraypaint (David Chirot), collage and ink (Bruno Neiva), painting (Kathy Ernst, Trevor Pawlak, Christine Tarantino), conceptual painting (John Barry), telephone pole with staples (Paul Pacak), overwriting (Billy Cancel), font and typography design (Liz Was), mixed-media on newsprint (Martin Rajala,), photography (Leon, Lloyd Dunn), computer imaging and shadow tracing (Crag Hill), digital gesture (Bill Karmel), ink and manipulated found text (Spencer Selby), and other media I can’t describe from the images alone (bárbara mesquita, Josh Buckley, Iker Spozio), Bill and the artists whose work Tip of the Knife championed knew that to make something of art and poetry requires risk (even if/with generative accidents in the artistic process), the selflessness needed to step back from a piece when it has had enough of the artist, and, for Bill, energy energy energy, a solar system’s worth, whenever/wherever possible.

See the work now for yourself. Stare at each piece. Breathe them all in. Let them spread behind your eyes and beneath your skin even if you begin to smolder, smoke, and flare. Don’t call for or answer the sirens. Bill knew, live in the process and be the transformation. No one can ever take that away from you.