Poetronics, neon poem, 1978.
Glass. Gas. Electricity. Aluminum cabinet.
Poetronics grew out of attempts to have a poem that floats in space. The four stanzas alternate electronically. It was constructed when I was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies. Students and engineers created the electronics from car coils from a junkyard, and Joe Upham blew the glass. It was first shown in the window of the historic Grolier Book Shop in Cambridge – at that time the only bookstore in the U.S. that sold only poetry. While it was installed it was stolen by an MIT grad student, who fell in love with the piece and decided it was “really his”, and taken to Baltimore where he had it in a show as his creation. A few friends and I drove down to Baltimore in a van and retrieved my piece “Chicago style”. The piece was also shown at the CAVS at MIT, the Alternative Museum in New York 1980, and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design 1982. In 2018 Poetronics was shown at the MIT Museum in Cambridge with a new cabinet and updated electronics. The exhibition was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the CAVS.