Type@Cooper - Visible Voices: Translating Verse into Script and Print, 3000BC-AD2000.

Visible Voices: Translating Verse into Script and Print, 3000BC-AD2000.


with Nicolas Barker




Tue., Nov. 01 – Tue., Nov. 01, 2016
6:00PM – 7:30PM
location: Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch

The primary function of poetry is memorial, to help bard and audience remember the words. When transferred to script, it loses this function and gains a new one, visual form. Over five millennia, verse has been inscribed on stone or clay tablets, written on papyrus, vellum and paper, and ultimately printed. Each form has altered the way that poets write, and the surviving relics of their works demonstrate changes in their script, lineation and punctuation, in metre, rhyme, stress and other ways of writing poetry. The invention of printing coincides (more or less) with the first surviving examples of autograph poetry. From about 1500 we can see words forming on the page in the poet's hand, crossed out and amended, with an eye to eventual publication in print. Today, digital words shape the imagery of concrete poetry. Looking at verse in its visual form, we see more closely how poetic inspiration grows with and is influenced by the tangible means that preserve and diffuse it.

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Lecturer: Nicolas Barker

Visible Voices: Translating Verse into Script and Print, 3000BC-AD2000.
Nicolas Barker was educated at New College, Oxford and holds an Hon. D. from the University of York. He was a trainee at Sir Isaac Pitman & Son, a publisher’s production manager at Baillière, Tindall & Cox and at Rupert Hart-Davis. He served as Assistant Keeper at the National Portrait Gallery, Production Director at Macmillan & Co, and Oxford University Press. He was Deputy Keeper at the British Library with responsibility for conservation and special materials. He was trustee and Deputy Chairman of The Pilgrim Trust, and Visiting Professor, U.C.L.A.

Mr. Barker served on the Arts Panel and Libraries Adviser for the The National Trust, was Library Adviser at the House of Commons, Chairman and then Vice President of the London Library, Chairman of the Library Committee for the Royal Horticultural Society, Chairman of the laurence Sterne Trust, Member of council for the Leather Conservation Centre, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He was Sandars Reader in Bibliography at Cambridge University, Order of
the British Empire in 2002, Feoffee at Chetham’s Hospital. Also, Mr. Barker was on the Advisory Council at the National Museum of Science and Invention and is an Honorary Fellow at New College.

He is the current Editor of The Book Collector (since 1965); Chairman, The Type Museum (1996), and The York Glaziers’ Trust (2004);; and Chetham’s Library (1996);; Senior Consultant Curator, Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia (1993); Governor, St Bride Foundation (1976);.

Latterly: Past President (1982-6), the Bibliographical Society, and Amici Thomae Mori (1974-84); member, Publishing Board of Directors, Royal National Institute for the Blind, and Charities Advisory Panel, B.B.C. & I.B.A. Sometime consultant to the University Library, University of California at Los Angeles; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.

Among his many published works are (Ed.) S.Morison, Politics and Script, ed. (1972)
Stanley Morison (1972), Aldus Manutius and the Development of Greek Script & Type in the Fifteenth Century (1985; second edition, 1992), (Ed.) Stanley Morison, Early Italian Writing Books: Renaissance to Baroque (1990), ‘The Script of the Towneley Lectionary’, The Towneley Lectionary (ed. J.Alexander, 1997), Form and Meaning in the History of the Book (selected essays, 2003), (with David Quentin), The Library of Thomas Tresham and Thomas Brudenell (2006), and The Glory of the Art of Writing: The Calligraphic Work of Francesco Alunno of Ferrara (2009).




Venue