WHAT THE CRITICS SAY

 

on No Parking


Immortal brevities!
- John Robert Colombo

So there are also poets around me in whom I see the occasional illuminations of vision. One of these is Tom Konyves, now in Vancouver, whose Selected Poems has just appeared. At the end of his poem "No Parking" we have this visionary passage, which echoes with powerful mythology, then explodes in a series of random and cryptic contemporary images.
- Louis Dudek

 

on Poetry in Performance


Konyves is after large collaborations: between sight and sound, form and content, environment and art, poetry and technology, conception and performance, the audience and the poet. Removing words from a linear context is part of Konyves' war of imagination against rationalism: war against any hard line, political or artistic, which is exclusive or divisive.
- Books in Review
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The most experimental by far is Konyves. He's taken the poem off the page and turned it into visual performance. He has, in effect, made the "writing" of poetry into a creative act. He is also the most articulate defender of this type of poetry and his Poetry in Performance is crammed with explanatory notes, reasons why he does what he does and essays that anticipate criticism.
Michael Mirolla, The Montreal Gazette

Tom Konyves acknowledges both the surrealists and the dadaists as major influences on his performance poetry. Poetry in Performance is a collection of the scripts of his video and performance poems, along with introductory essays and footnotes to each of them, accounts of his collaborations with The Véhicule Poets, Konyves' concrete poems, and some short essays on poetry. The introductions serve to document the extraordinarily energetic literary activity in Montreal over the past decade, and specifically Konyves' movement towards video poetry. Reflecting political as well as aesthetic interests, the scripts are witty and lively, and two of them, "Sympathies of War" and "No Parking," moved me especially. Like the essays, they raise questions about the nature and function of poetry and poets. Konyves' first "tribe" was the other Véhicule poets. But beyond this kind of collaboration, he is after larger collaborations: between sight and sound, form and content, environment and art, poetry and technology, conception and performance, the audience and the poet. Removing words from a linear context is part of the poet's war of imagination against rationalism: war against any hard line, political or artistic, which is exclusive or divisive.
Ann Mandel, Books In Review, Canadian Literature

 

on Ex Perimeter


Fascinating, encouraging, delightful. Here is honesty, genuineness of mind and of poetic delivery. Several of these poems are little masterpieces.
- Louis Dudek

Konyves relays an authentic voice in well-carpentered passages... short, from the heart epiphanies one finds marked with peculiarly urban tenderness; back alley kind of poems that cue on the localized imagery of a Montreal lane, a cemetery, a lover's bed. Konyves has a precise eye for detail and he strives for meaning in his observations. There is contentment with the ordinary, tribute to birth and death, to change of landscape.
- The Vancouver Sun

The poems in Ex Perimeter are sparse, clear, direct and full of delicate and precise insight. Whenever I read them I say to myself, "Yes, that is it, exactly." In this life of mine which is too often out of control and beyond reflection, these poems bring me to a sudden stop. "Pay attention," they say, "to the moment, to experience, to what is."
- Lionel Kearns

As his title suggests, in Ex Perimeter, Tom Konyves explores boundaries — between poetry and prose, and between art and life. Like American poet Frank O'Hara, Konyves views the poem as a "temporary object," which must be "true/ to the moment." The economy of language here, the proselike cadence, the focus on the "real" world, and on human mortality, are all features of Konyves' writing in this volume.
Susan Schenk, Unmapped Territory, Journal of Canadian Literature

 

on Sleepwalking Among The Camels


Tom Konyves’ strong experimental impulses and wide range of technical skills produce some remarkably successful poems… both his selections from Ex Perimeter (1988) and his most recent material in the section Into This Space represent the work of a skilled poet who is finally coming into his own. The diversity of this material stands out even to the casual reader. Konyves displays an extraordinary sensitivity to rhythm…
Allusions to poets… are woven into meditations that are both fresh and vulnerable. In short, these final fifty pages come close fulfilling Konyves’ own declared desire to create “a temporary object / through which a thought flows / searching for a vantage point / to view the human soul.”
- Journal of Canadian Poetry

Konyves’ poems are beyond poems, mouthfuls with a surprising aftertaste, and difficult to explain.
- Rob Mclennan

 

on The Vehicule Poets_Now


Konyves… was always the one most involved in the history and course of the central European avant garde. Tom Konyves, for example, became fascinated with the possibilities of videotape when that medium was new. He made something he called "videopoetry," and is now a west coast video-arts doyen. Konyves is witty, terse and cynical. He chose his surrealist roots, and they, along with his years as a video artist, have led him away from exposition.
George Bowering


on Beware of Dog


Zebra International Poetry Festival 2008… I like seeing the use of found footage and some very nice sound editing but I thought only Tom Konyves' video understood that the visual medium is a component that works in concert with the words rather than as just something for our eyes to look at as we listen.
George Aguilar

 

on Videopoetry: A Manifesto

Tom Konyves puts videopoems into the tradition of poetry, rather than film per se and therefore allows a media-specific transgression of the genre from the page to the stage to the screen. From a scholarly approach, this expansion provides a back-bone for analysis that one can rely on.

Martina Pfeiler, author of Poetry Goes Intermedia (2010), Assistant Professor in American Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany


Very illuminating. The basic distinctions strike me as well reasoned and clarifying.

– Dr. W.J.T. Mitchell, Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History, University of Chicago

Very useful comments on the relationship of poetry and technological innovation; it contributes to the (admittedly not very extensive) critical discourse on poetry-films/videopoems. The combination of descriptive and proscriptive approaches to the defining of videopoetry is appropriate for a manifesto and probably is enlightening for anyone unfamiliar with videopoetry. The classification of different kinds of poetry-films/videopoems makes an original and very helpful contribution to the taxonomy of the genre.

– Dr. William C. Wees, Emeritus Professor, McGill University, Montreal

The manifesto is a masterwork of organization and detail.

– Dr. Bill Scalia, St. Mary’s University, Baltimore

What a fascinating and necessary pioneering contribution to the field of poetry and videopoetry, specifically.

– Dr. Alexis Krasilovsky, Professor, Department of Cinema and Television Arts, California State University, Northridge

A bridging essentially between the poetry film tradition and the film poem of the avant-garde. This is a great step, I believe, in discourse on film and poetry.

– Dr. Fil Ieropoulos, University of the Creative Arts, Kent, UK

The manifesto now provides a context for future theoretical and critical discourse on the complexities of videopoetry.

– W. Mark Sutherland, Intermedia Artist, Toronto

Happy to read the coalesced taxonomy of videopoems that has emerged. I like the categories. It sorts out a field that can seem to flow into itself.

– David (Jhave) Johnston, Assistant Professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong

I like the insistence on the new vs the narrative.

– George Bowering, Order of Canada, Professor of English, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (retired)

The definitive guide to the various genres within the subject area.

– Sarah Tremlett, Assistant Professor, Chelsea College of Art and Design, UK

The first significant plan for corralling thoughts about videopoetry.

– Geof Huth, poet and visual poet who writes daily on visual poetry and related matters at dbqp.blogspot.com

A text that maps out possibilities and categories.

– Nico Vassilakis, Artist, poet, visual poet, writer, New York