robert zend

Robert Zend (1929–1985)

Almost thirty years have passed since the untimely death of Robert Zend, avant-garde writer and artist. After his immigration from Hungary to Canada as a political refugee in 1956, he produced a body of work remarkable for its diversity of medium and genre: poetry, fiction, concrete poetry, typewriter and computer art, collages, and art incorporating found objects such as thumbtacks, string, automotive gaskets, and toilet paper rolls. Some works defy classification, such as Oāb, his multi-genre metapoetic exploration of authorial creation. Zend was also a prolific doodler, producing quick sketches on everything from sticky notes to cocktail napkins.

The following selection showcases a variety of technical and aesthetic approaches, including typewriter art (his “typescapes”) and hand-drawn concrete poetry.

—Camille Martin

All works copyright © Janine Zend, all rights reserved, reproduced with permission from Janine Zend

1 Uriburus


2 Orientopolis


3 Peapoteacock


4 Pasquastral


5 The Family Tree of the Alphabet

The Family Tree of the Alphabet

6 Scope


7 Vera


8 Erzsi


9 Oāb and Ïrdu play

Oāb and Ïrdu play

10 The generations of creature-creators in Oa ̄b

The generations of creature-creators in Oāb


The Zend family is making available some long out-of-print titles (including the portfolio of typescapes, Arbormundi) at the recently-created Robert Zend Website.

More about Zend’s life and work can be found in Camille Martin’s series Robert Zend: Poet without Borders.

Acknowledgements: The four typescapes were published in Arbormundi (Blewointment Press, 1982) and Exile Magazine (1978). “The Family Tree of the Alphabet” appeared in Exile Magazine (1973). “Scope” is from an unpublished manuscript. The concrete poems in Hungarian, “Vera” and “Erzsi,” appeared in Versek, Képversek (1988). And the last two images are from Oāb, Vols. 1 and 2 (Exile Editions, 1983 and 1985).