Most of the press around last week’s Poetry Night at the White House revolved around a faux controversy about the hip-hop poet Common. But all the fuss ignored someone far more revolutionary reading that night: Alison Knowles was one of the founders of Fluxus, an international network “broadly focused on human creativity, culture, and consciousness.”  Forty-eight years ago Knowles produced what may be the earliest book object, a can of texts and beans called the Bean Rolls (see right). In 1967, Knowles produced “The House of Dust” poem, possibly the first computerized poem, which she produced with the composer James Tenney following his informal seminar on computers in the arts held at her home with her husband, Dick Higgins, in 1967.  She hasn’t stopped since, and we’ve no doubt that there were open mouths and damp eyes at the White House.

 

 

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