New book celebrates work of influential Chilean poet

The visual poetry of Guillermo Deisler once revolutionized the genre and continues to win acclaim across the world to this day.

The work of visual poet Guillermo Deisler is celebrated in a newly-released book. Photo via LaTercera

For pioneering Chilean visual poet Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995) the greatest act of artistic rebellion available was the transformation and revolution of language. A hugely influential writer and the subject of a recent book cataloguing his work, Deisler reshaped the paradigms of artistic expression for decades, indelibly shaping the creative landscape both nationally and internationally.

Now a retrospective project, spearheaded by his daughter and journalist Mariana Deislar, the book aims to introduce the revolutionary visual poet’s work to a new audience.

The newly published retrospective tome “Archivo Guillermo Deisler: textos e imágenes en acción, (or Text and images in action)” was launched at Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM) earlier this month. Accompanying the book will be an online portal which aims to further promote the poet’s work.

Deisler first came to prominence in the early 1960s where he worked with publishers, Ediciones Mimbre. At the publishing house he helped present the early work of fellow influential writers Waldo Rojas, Rolando Cárdenas and Guillermo Ross-Murray.

From this early point in his career, Deisler was already demonstrating the revolutionary creative intent that would come to define his work: a diligent opposition to the traditional aesthetic and commercial influence. He went on to publish his own work alongside other influential writers in the 1972 anthology, “Poesia Visual en el mundo,” before the political turmoil of the era forced him into exile in Europe where he continued working.

While he remains a respected figure and his influence can be easily traced, Deislar’s name does not command the attention of some of his contemporaries such as close friend Eugenio Dittborn. That said, his work remains in high demand on the international circuit to this day. Among the institutions to exhibit his work recently are the National Library of Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centro Pompidou and the Saxon Library in Dresden.