Charlotte Jung first came to my attention at the fall 2019 ottawa small press book fair when I visited one my favourite vendors, Kingston’s Puddles of Sky Press, run by Michael E. Casteels. Puddles of Sky makes handstitched and machine-sewn, rubber stamped wee chapbooks, among other gorgeous limited-run meticulous work, tending toward the minimal. When at the Fair, you can often see Michael sewing the books as people come over to peruse and admire.MBRYO (Puddles of Sky Press, October, 2019) was one such work that captured by attention. In a limited edition of 45 copies, the chapbook contains “5 micro-visual-poems that touch on fertility, conception, pregnancy, the formation of a new life.” I admire the slowness of these one-word poems. It causes me to focus on each word, how it is placed, what is included. Such as ( belly ) or seedling. and the scattered, repeated s on germs.
From Timglaset Editions came (SEED) (July, 2020), “the fourth chapbook in the VVV-series of small, inexpensive chapbooks which aim to broaden the perspective on contemporary experimental poetry. This book contains eight of Charlotte Jung's visual one-word poems. 16 pages, laser printed in black and white and stapled in an edition of 60 copies. A6 format.” While the print copy of SEED is now out of stock, you can view the free pdf here. Tension in the words chosen and how each piece is placed on the page, what accompanies them: w h (o) r e. All of this creates a narrative and a tone.
Charlotte kindly mailed me a copy of C (Vänd Blad Vörlag, 2019), a beautifully designed and self-published book, which she describes as “a collection of visual micro poetry exploring the basic building blocks of language and life.” At 8 x 10 inches, hand-stitched and bound with signatures, this is a luxurious book, with lots of space for each poem to be contemplated without noise or distraction. It opens with three blank pages, evocative as it unfolds of a seed becoming flower or a tabula rasa, how life begins. No expectations. No promises. From parenthesis to opening o contained within, to variations on C, to a flat line or horizon to C to me sea and words with the sound of e and on it goes to, capital letters and war, and words with the w sound, wall, dwarfs, drown, NOW in red, the only word to diverge from black on the crisp white pages, playful connections, leading to grow and flow through and flower and power to bee G. being. And the back, two vertical dots or a colon spaced, each dot spaced widely apart. Leading us outward.
My other work by Charlotte Jung is her piece in ToCall No. 9 (psw, 2020), a work that contemplates the notion of explosion, the o’s blown apart from the word and scattered on the page.
For NationalPoetryMonth.ca’s Ode to the Small (AngelHousePress, 2020), I was pleased to publish Charlotte’s piece .regrets for our special feature on minimalist work in homage to Nelson Ball, who died in 2019.
Charlotte has said that her work is a feminist reclaiming of concrete poetry. I like this. I see it in these works. I appreciate the white space and the sparseness that allows for the contemplation of life, beginnings, and change.
Charlotte Jung is originally from Stockholm, Sweden and today she divides her time between the Stockholm countryside and Chicago. In Charlotte’s micro poetry, the main theme and driving question is “existence”; what is it and how does it come to be (or not). The project aims to highlight the defining power of structure on one hand, and the life enhancing force of movement on the other. Charlotte's micro poetry is published, or planned for publication by (among others); Puddles of Sky Press, Molecule – Tiny Lit Mag, Ad Lucem, ToCall and Timglaset (2020). Please see www.vandblad.com for more information about Charlotte’s writing project. Amanda Earl is a polyamorous pansexual writer visual poet, editor and publisher living in Ottawa with her husband, Charles. She’s the managing editor of Bywords.ca and the fallen angel of AngelHousePress. She has new poetry in Long Con Magazine Issue 9. Her most recent chapbook is Sessions from the Dream House Aria (above/ground press’ prose naught imprint, 2020). Kiki (Chaudiere Books, 2014) is now available from Invisible Publishing.