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Alain Arias-Misson

Alain Arias-Misson is an American-Belgian visual poet, artist, writer, and critic, whose multimedia works range from "Public Poems", criticisms, novels, and plexiglass art. Throughout his extensive career, Bory has worked closely with Sarenco, Julien Blaine, Paul de Vree, and Eugenico Miccini, as well as Ignacio Gomez de Liano, Marc Dachy, and Jacques Donguay. In 1967-1968, Arias-Misson conceived of the Public Poem in Brussels  (The Vietnam), through which he sought to create a "city-text" that would open up "unpredictable dimensions of social and material reality." Since then, Arias-Misson has performed Public Poems in cities as varied as Knokke (The Poemx, 1969), Bonn (The Beethoven, 1974), Los Angeles (The Hollywood Monsters, 1991) Berlin (The Teutonic, 1991), and Venice (The Sinking of Venice, 2015), among many other cities. 

Born in Belgium, Brussels in 1938, Arias-Misson was deeply influenced by World War II and the emigration to the United States. The time in New York and Brussels after the War--and the dual influence of America and Belgium--continued to shape his adolescent years. During his college years at Harvard University, while developing an interest in experimental poetry, Arias-Misson met his future wife Nela Arias, an Abstract painter 21 years his senior; in 1963, Arias-Misson married Arias and chose to take on her last name. They would be married until the 1990's. 


Arias-Misson published literary criticism in American magazines until the outbreak of the Vietnam War in 1965, when he moved to Barcelona to avoid the draft. In Spain, Arias-Misson forged a robust international and intergenerational network of poets and artists, such as Joan Brossa, Joan Miro, Herminio Molero, and Ignacio Gomez de Liano, as well as those in the rest of the continent--Marc Dachy and Paul De Vree, among others. In the late 1960's and 1970's, Arias-Misson conceived of plexiglass poems (Theater-Boxes, Mental Theater, and more) alongside the Public Poem, exploring with spatiality, letters, and the word, while contributing for De Tafelronde. Arias-Misson became a member of Lotta Poetica in the mid-1980s and 1990s, collaborating with Sarenco, Eugenico Miccini, Jean-François Bory, and Julien Blaine on Logomotives, among others. 

Since then, Arias-Misson has continued to create Public Poems around the world, as well as what he deems "Object Poems," novels, and "Immaterial Object of the Holographic Projection" that address the word relative to plasticity, legibility, sociality, visuality and the digital. 

Alain Arias-Misson is a American-Belgian visual poet, artist, and writer, whose multimedia works include plexiglass art, public performance, novels, and literary criticisms. Arias-Misson is best known for "Public Poem," in which the street is considered as a collection of signs with which to appropriate and "generate a grammar." His network of collaborators and interlocutors span generations and continents, including Joan Miro, Ignacio Gomez de Liano, Paul De Vree, Marc Dachy, Sarenco, Jean-François Bory, and Juliane Blaine, among many others in Lotta Poetica, a leftist and anti-capitalist poetry magazine that Arias-Misson was a part of. Arias-Misson was in a relationship with the Cubian-born Asturian artist Nela Arias from the 1950s to the early 1990s.

Alain Arias-Misson Papers

The Alan Arias-Misson Papers contain an extensive collection of correspondences; writings, visual poetry, and notes by Arias-Misson as well as works by Jean-François Bory and Ugo Carrega, among others; printed material including cards, pamphlets, ephemera, exhibition catalogs, serials, and books; and born-digital audiovisual materials. The extensive collection of correspondences, which spans generations and are international in scope, includes deep exchanges with Carlfriedrich Claus, Ignacio Gomez de Liano, Joan Brossa, Paul De Vree, in addition to briefs with François Dufrêne, Jacques Donguy, Dick Higgins, Mark Rothko, and Carolee Schneeman, among others. Complementing the correspondences are notes and writings pertaining to poems ranging from 1962 to 2017, such as Vietnam Superfiction (1967-1968), Cat and Mouse Public Poem (1974), and The Public Surveillance Poem (2003); writings and visual poetry published in Logomotives (1984), Poesia Vixual (1994), and Art in America (2004); sketches, photographs, and paste-ups for plexiglas projects,

Collection Highlights

  • Correspondences

  • Public Poems

  • Visual Poetry

  • Printed Material

Finding Aid: 

To view a detailed listing of contents for the Alan Aris-Misson Papers and to request materials for consultation in the Beinecke Reading Room, visit the Online Finding Aid


  • The public poem / by me, Arias-Misson, olé! (Calaone-Baone, Italy: Factotum-art, 1978)

  • Public poems: 50 years of writing on the street: Brussels, Madrid, Knokke, Pamplona, New York, Bonn, Paris, Quebec, Los Angeles, Berlin, Vatican City, Ghent, Nice, Marseille, Antwerp, Venice, Deauville ([Madrid]: Ediciones Asimétricas, [2019])

  • Alan Arias-Misson: The Public Poem Extension Program (Brescia: Edizioni Fondazione Berardelli, 2011)

Print Holdings

  • À perte de langue
    [S.I]: B&J Froidefond, [1979]

  • Alain Arias-Misson (Brescia: Studio Brescia, [1972])

  • Alain Arias-Misson: the public poem extension program (Brescia: Edizioni Fondazione Berardelli, 2011)

  • Carlfriedrich Claus, Alain Arias-Misson, Klaus Sobolewski ([München]: Kunstraum München e.V., 1991)

  • Confessions of a murderer, rapist, Facist, bomber, thief; or, A year in the journal of an ordinary American: a superfiction (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, c.1974)

  • Logomotives, 1963-1983: capolavori della poesia visiva (Napoli: Morra, [1983?]

  • Poesia visiva: Arias-Misson - Bory - Damen - de Vree - Marcucci - Miccini - Ori - Perfetti - Sarenco (Brescia: Studio Brescia, [1973]

  • Poesia visiva internazionale: A. Arias-Misson, J.F. Bory, H. Damen, P. De Vree, L. Marcucci, E. Miccini, L. Ori, M. Perfetti, Sarenco (Venezia: Galleria 'Il Canale', [1972])

  • The visio-verbal sins of a literary saint/ con un testo di Sarenco (Monteforte d'Alpone, Italy: Rara International, [1993-1996])

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