Eyearun: Bob Cobbing and Concrete Poetry

Greg Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article assesses the relationship of Bob Cobbing’s work to Concrete Poetry. It initially sketches out the precise formulation of Concrete Poetry in the mid-1950s by Eugen Gomringer and the Noigandres poetry collective, before tracing its discovery and transformation by UK-based poets from 1962 onwards, paying particular attention to the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay. It then examines Cobbing’s own engagement with Concrete Poetry from the mid-1960s, which involved incorporating certain of its stylistic traits into a more open-ended multimedia practice hard to refer to easily or solely by that term – a discrepancy acknowledged by only using it in lower case letters to refer to his work – yet also relatable to a contemporaneous diffusion of its meaning. A transcribed performance of part of Cobbing’s 1966 collection Eyearun furnishes this analysis, focusing on key topographical features in the text which solicit performance unbound by various conventions of the poetry reading, yet orientated around them. The article thus aims to both frame the nature and extent of the concrete element in Cobbing’s work, and show how the term’s aesthetic remit itself shifted during the period under consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-27
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


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