Cartouche! by Dylan King & Michelle Moloney King

About the Poets

Michelle Moloney King; poet, visual poet, publisher at Beir Bua Press. Research interests: signifier-signified, semiotics-semantics, plurality of time, and the surreal absurdism of life, the deconstruction of language, and the construction of poetry objects with fibre & copper weaving and tapestry art. Published widely. 

Dylan King, a very young visual poet, and assistant publisher at Beir Bua Press.



A collaboration between a mother and son, this all started during the first lockdown, poetry became my escape from the strange new world. And an outlet from cooking, cleaning, playing. And now, my toddler is four and copies me. He writes concrete poems, his scribbles asemic poems. My poems in this collection are ekphrastic poems, I play with meaning, I am obsessed with verbs and moving through a landscape I am still catching up to understand but I am always hopeful.

The invisible skills of critical thinking and inference. The brain doesn’t like that space between familiar and strange; it itches, rumbles, it forges new connections, and demands the brain work to expand via critical thinking and inference to a new understanding. Lazy brain! Cave man brain!  Brain likes to predict within its comfort zone but experimental poetry, like visual poetry, can encourage critical thinking and inference, that provocation – that’s art! 

Writing that is mark-making acts as a pictorial element representing an external object while also inferring meaning.  The work is linguistic and at the same time uses visual signifiers which generates confusion about the prevalent symbol system used. The necessary method of understanding is consequently rendered uncertain: are these works to be viewed like a picture, or decoded from left to right, top to bottom? Is this code? What is the semantic statement of the text? 

The Fire of Poetics

The red-eyed tree frog
Fixing at linguistic Senna
As a matrix matting or
Lingual laxative their
Poet made from the dried pods of an interpreting tropical tree.
That is the wildfire of 
Thrumming thoughts
Which a tigress sentence can permeate to slow the pouncing paws and reveal
The semantic of self.

Praise for the Work

“Beginning in 1972 the British-born artist Harold Cohen began developing AARON, a computer programme that was designed to produce art autonomously. AARON, programmed with a basic set of rules and forms, began to create abstract drawings that became increasingly complex throughout the 1970’s. Although seemingly without “mind”, AARON began to develop an expressive language of abstract image. In Cartouche!, poet and artist Michelle Moloney King innovates on Cohen’s basic concept by responding to the abstract visual poems created by an organic computer with pristine genetic programming, in this case the mind of her four-year-old son, Dylan. Recognising that a child’s drawings and keyboard smatterings are expressions from the mindkitty of primitive ancestral consciousness, Michelle Moloney King answers them through surrealist automatic poems. The result is a dialogue that initiates a primal ekphrastic poetics, represents a new asemic conversation – shows us how to learn from the childmind, how to speak, how to think anew.”

– John W. Sexton

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