The Argentine visual poet and web.artist Ana Maria Uribe passed away March 5, 2004.
Ana Maria’s involvement in visual poetry was an important part of her life for thirty five years. In her first post to the webartery list in May 2001, she said:
“I started with visual poetry in the late 60’s after seeing some of Apollinaire’s poems and Morgenstern’s “Night Song of the Fish”. Shortly afterwards I met Edgardo Antonio Vigo, who was then editing a magazine called “Diagonal Cero”, devoted to visual poetry and mail art, and other poets such as Luis Pazos and Jorge de Lujan Gutierrez. They all lived in La Plata, a town which is 50 km from Buenos Aires, where I live, and we communicated by ordinary mail, either because there was a shortage of telephones at that time or to save costs, I don’t remember which. I still keep some of the letters…”
She started developing her web site in 1997. At that point, the only other Argentine visual writing site on the net I was aware of was Postypographika by Fabio Doctorovich, which has since gone offline not long after the economic collapse in Argentina during 2001.
Ana Maria’s web site is divided into “Tipoemas” and “Anipoemas”, ie, typographical and animated poems. As she said in an interview by Jorge Luiz Antonio,
“Rather than being a source of inspiration, getting to know other digital poets via the Internet has helped me a lot in many ways. My source of inspiration – as I say elsewhere – are the letters themselves. I never participated in a collaborative work, although I made pieces for certain websites, like “Zoo”, for “The Banner Art Collective” and “Deseo – Desejo – Desire”
(http://www.ce.canberra.edu.au/inflect/01/uribe/eroticos.swf), for Muriel Frega, who was putting up a page on desire. Exchanges in sites like Webartery taught me many things I might otherwise have missed or never tried.”
Looking at her work, we see the secret life of letters and their rendering in a style that is much influenced by the concrete work of the fifties and sixties-that was a cultural heritage and way of knowing for Ana Maria from the sixties through the turn of the century. Her web site was not simply a transposition of her earlier work to the new medium, however. The sense of motion and change, and the sense of the carnivalesque, the life of letters, the sense of proceeding via engagement and celebration of life comes into her anipoemas in memorable and exciting ways. As she said, her source of inspiration was the letters themselves, and this gives her work both an international and enduring quality. She was conversant in about seven languages. Language, reading, writing, translation and travelling the world, getting to know it from many perspectives, was a crucial part of her life.
I invited Ana Maria to be a featured guest on empyre with Regina, Jorge, and Alexandre some months ago. She had told me earlier of her bad health and surgery, but I was not clear on how bad it was. She did not want others to be told that she was ill, and it seemed by her reticence about her health that it was quite bad indeed. She eventually declined the invitation because of her health and told me that she “could not make plans for March.”
Ana Maria loved to travel. She spent considerable time in India and travels through Asia and the Americas. I recall that during the time war was widely publicized as an immanent possibility between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, Ana Maria was travelling in or near Kashmir and sent posts to the webartery list describing the holidaying and enjoyment going on in the area where war was apparently the last thing on peoples’minds and considered to be a barely existent possibility. “Things sometimes look worse from far away” she said. Hers was a very close look into poetry.
Her poetry, her correspondence, and her massive assistance with translation into Spanish of the entire Paris Connection project we worked on together last year, and her encouragements remain with me amid her extrordinary life of letters. Her work spans thirty five years of thinking and feeling and living through visual and, latterly, digital language and poetry.
There is a mirror of her work on my site at http://vispo.com/uribe. I would like to add to this mirror writing about her work and any work that addresses hers. Please contact me if you know of such writing or works or wish to contribute to what will be an ongoing archive in this regard. If you are familiar with her work and would like to write about it on empyre, please do so. As I mentioned, she had been invited to be featured this month with Regina, Jorge, and aLe. It did not become evident to her until February 8 that she could not. One of the last emails I received from her was this:
Although three days ago I accepted your invitation to the empyre debate, I have had a lot of problems since then, and I will therefore have to decline it.
My apologies to you all and I hope we may do some other collaboration in the future.
Besos and regards,
My heart goes out to Ana Maria and her family and friends. It is with deep regret that I inform you of her passing which I learned of last week from her brother Diego. Her work and influence remains, though, and it is with respect and admiration that I turn to experience her poetry again.
Ana Maria at arteonline.arq.br:
Ana Maria at Ubu.com:
Ana Maria at Iowa Review:
Ana Maria at BeeHive:
Ana Maria at Inflect:
An interview of Ana Maria by Jorge Luiz Antonio http://www.officinadopensamento.com.br/officina/entre-vistas/ entre-vistas_ana_maria_uribe.htm
Ana Maria did all the translations into Spanish of all the work at http://vispo.com/thefrenchartists
David Daniels has done a visual poem about Ana Maria at http://www.thegatesofparadise.com/humans/ANA%20MARIA%20URIBE.pdf