We chose one of Henri Chopin’s dactylopoemes from a series of five works all titled Bush and dated August 2001. The work feels prescient: created in the weeks before the September 11th, and three months before George Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan - the coffee stains are like dried blood and hint at the conflict that was to come. His work is both funny and furious, and you get a sense of this fury in the way that he’s pounded the keys on the typewriter to get the depth and layering of the patterns around the coffee stains.
As a young man in Paris during the Second World War he was sent to a forced labour camp in Czecholslovakia. Before escaping, his earliest preserved works were poems written during this internment. William Burroughs called him an “inner space explorer”.
Chopin was also a true polymath: a concrete poet known for his experimental sound poetry, a painter, graphic artist and designer, typographer, filmmaker, broadcaster, arts promoter and an independent publisher: his review OU, was a major forum for concrete and audio poetry until 1974.