A note on: writing an introduction to Volodymyr Bilyk's Heartbeat, Footclick, Machine Gun Vocalises

A privilege to write the introduction to Volodymyr Bilyk's new work out with the brilliant M58 press edited by Jez Noond and Andrew Taylor, based in the UK. It's a hugely important work of avant-garde visual poetry emanating from real purpose and I've scanned (wonkily) my introduction in below. You can buy it here for £5 and I urge you to do so. http://www.m58.co.uk/post/141316776709/heartbeat-footclick-machine-gun-vocalises-by

Maintenant #98 - Volodymyr Bilyk - poetry from the heart of the Maidan & a new Ukraine

At the heart of a new Ukraine, as poetically as politically, the work of Volodymyr Bilyk, and it’s worldwide repute, as is tied to the new possibilities of technology in the 21st century as it is the quality and innovation that defines it. Bilyk is the new face of a nation whose poetic history is as often entrenched as its political, and his groundbreaking visual, minimalist, conceptual, sound and artpoetry has been published across the globe, due in no small part to his willingness to embed himself within internet culture and its potentialities. Moreover, his immediacy as a poet, as evident in his poetics as in his colloquially eloquent, unpretentious mode and manner, reveals itself as the expression of an individual willing to commit utterly to the ideal of democratic freedom in his homeland. This interview is conducted during the unyielding protests, and the resultant government violence and oppression, wracking the Ukraine in late 2013 / early 2014, of which Volodymyr Bilyk, the 98th respondent of the Maintenant series, is a central and formidable part.
“Q - As we finish this interview, on February 19th 2014, Europe awakes to the news that yesterday was the bloodiest day in the battle for Ukraine’s democratic future, with 26 dead by latest news estimates. There is the sense now that these protests, lasting months already will not just fizzle out and be swept away, like so many others have in Western Europe and America over the last few years. What is the feeling in Kyiv towards this and the immediate future?
A - I can describe it as “We shall overcome!” and “No pasaran!”. It is “the end of something” and “It's the beginning of a new age”....
At the foot of the interview there are multiple links to Volodymyr’s work online, I recommend you check it out, including this, previously published on 3am magazine http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/volodymyr-bilyk & here is a link to one of Volodymyr’s recent statements on the Maidan protests http://blutkitt.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/volodymyr-bilyk-statement-collaborations.html
& here, published almost exactly 3 years ago, my Maintenant interview, number #53, with another powerful Ukrainian poet, offering his own voice of resistance to the current protests, Yuri Andrukhovych http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/maintenant-53-yuri-andrukhovych
I would recommend reading Yuri’s recent piece for the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/opinion/love-and-hatred-in-kiev.html?_r=0

Володимир Білик (Volodymyr Bilyk) - a statement & collaborations

Very proud to call Volodymyr Bilyk a collaborator. Undoubtedly a pioneer in avant garde Ukrainian poetry, one of the finest visual and minimalist poets working in the world right now, I published some of his work on 3am, www.3ammagazine.com/3am/volodymyr-bilyk and since then we've been exchanging collaborative works, lo-fi jpeg poems. I've included two of our exchanges below. Recently, in the midst of the injustice violently overtaking the Ukraine, which he and his people refuse to stand for, he released this statement, recently translated into English. 
"At the present moment our language is on the long and winding road to simplification, abbreviation and restriction of itself. Language itself is turning away from expressing the things to bare notification of the objects. Instead of sense-concentration we got informal hollow. We got everything but the essence. Ain't that a shame? Not exactly, but you can hear Screaming Trees for Vengeance and the horde of the blots giving birth to the blobs.

Short and simple messages are not bad at all. It can be understood in the matter of seconds and almost without an effort. But it works only in terms of communication. When you're exploring something - there's no way to be short and simple - you have to exhaust the thing.

But what's wrong with expression today? Nothing, it's ok. Nobody believes it. It's too dangerous and unpredictable. It can be provoked but can't be fully controlled. And we're making safe and stable unnatural world where any stroke of nature is marginalized for its own good - mostly as a possible threat. But we have to realize that the only thing left for us in this Brave New World - is swinging the chain. I don't think we have to agree with that.

Conceptual writing and concrete poetry can bring some fun. But are we here to have some fun for ourselves or are we here to bring some horror to the eyes and ears and hearts of the beholders? Matter of choice, question of time. Let's quote Mr.Pop and The Stooges - "No Fun" and let us quote Mr.Lydon and Sex Pistols - "No Future".  Or let us use other quotes from them - "We Will Fall" and "We don't care". And don't forget to sing-along "Ball of confusion - that's what the world of today!". 

Simonides of Ceos once said "Painting is silent poetry, and poetry painting that speaks." - so we're up to let the beast out of the cage and to keep the nerve. We must remember that "Music helps to ease the pain" - to quote Mr.Waters and Pink Floyd. We must remember that "Anger is Holy". If not - we're lost.

Key to joy is disobedience. So why do we disobey all those common rules and guidelines? In order to be seen and read and heard? But why we fill it with greed and cowardice and shame? Is that what we're fighting for with all these orthodoxes and new-born-again conservatives? Or fight because we want to make difference? 
Power to Imagination."