Dom Sylvester Houedard

I’d like to leave a comment about one of England’s experimental poet, who was mentioned on UbuWeb in the book  “Concrete Poetry: A World View” (1968, Indiana University Press)

There is his brief biography: “Dom Sylvester Houédard (1924-92), priest, scholar and avant-garde poet, preferred to spell himself in lower case – and signed himself simply as dsh. He was a unique figure in British culture. Born in Guernsey, he worked in British Army Intelligence, and joined the Benedictine Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire. In 1959, he was ordained. He became literary editor of the Jerusalem Bible (the Catholic English translation), and wrote theological works on Meister Eckhart. At the same time, he was a leading figure in the British wing of the Concrete Poetry movement. As well as numerous shape poems and typestracts (the name had been coined by the Scottish poet Edwin Morgan), he invented the beautiful palindrome “drawninward” (it reads both ways, but it’s drawn inward to the “I” at its centre) and the brilliant word turnover “deus/snap” (in which God snaps himself). He worked on the borderlines of Western and Eastern spirituality, and of Christianity and modern art. He said: “inevitably i feel my own work as the continuation of the tradition of benedictine poets and artists…”

And an article from “The Independent”


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