Amelia Etlinger (New York 1933- 1987)
Amelia purposely isolated herself away from others in New York and confined her poetry to the non-vulnerable space of her own four walls. Even when she won the Fels Award in 1975 she managed to be forgotten afterwards. Her friends helped her set up two personal exhibitions at the Mercato del sale in Milan in 1974 and at Collegio Cairoli in Pavia in 1975, but she constantly veered away from using ordinary language to communicate or express her feelings. Ever since she began to compose concrete poetry she battled to break through the limits of written word. She achieved this in two ways: by hiding and blurring boundaries. The untraceable tracks of written words are hidden within her visual poems which are composed of knots, sequins, scraps of food, or dried seeds. Etlinger uses the language of natural and artificial materials, codified and uncodified symbols and combines them all into packet poems. The envelope she sends becomes her epitaph, and the metamorphosis is in our ability to receive. The package opens, the path turns back on itself, and the contents, made up of uncertain layers, become visible.