Carolyn Carlson prefers to use the term “visual poetry” to “choreography”, while describing her work. She uses dance, writing and calligraphy as means of expressing poetry.

She has been publishing poetry and calligraphy books for many years:

Most of these publications are for sale on tour at our boutique

Le Soi et le rien   (Actes Sud, 2002)


Choreographer and dancer Carolyn Carlson has gathered a few poems and thoughts which, for years, have enriched her perspective on spirit and movement. Illustrated with Chinese ink by the author, these texts are close to the kôan from zen Buddhism.

Solo poèmes et encres   (Alternatives, Gallimard, 2003)

SolosWorld, destiny, love, death are spiritual themes reminding of Zen and Tao positions just as a wonderful skinning for Carolyn Carlson. These illustrated poems, selected among her numerous notebooks, let us glimpse how the thought and the spiritual can give birth to ink calligraphy in the choreographer’s work.

This book is not published anymore, some copies are for sale at our boutique during tours.

Inanna (Centre Chorégraphique National de Roubaix, 2005)


Fall 2005, Carolyn Carlson is preparing her first creation for the Centre Chorégraphique National in Roubaix, which she has taken the head of a few months earlier. Paying tribute to the industrial remains of the city, like ghosts of existences that were doomed to them, she leads Euan Burnet-Smith and the performers in a peculiar journey through the abandoned spaces of the Condition Publique in Roubaix. At the extreme point of this lost and crumbled world, they discover a feminity unvarnished, a poerty of the dark. The images, the poems and the inks constitutive of this book are the reflection of this.

This book is not published anymore, some copies are for sale at our boutique during tours.

Paris-Venise-Paris (Claude Lê-Anh Actes Sud, 2010)

Paris-Venise-ParisFar from classis monograph, Paris-Venise-Paris is a singular album, personal. It brings us into a journey through Carolyn Carlson’s world, which Claude Lê-Anh’s photographs give back the imaginary, and shares th story of an encounter, of a timeless friendship.
Paris-Venise-Paris offers crossed looks. Claude Lê-Anh’s, relying on thirty years of creation. Carolyn Carlson’s which, through her yet unpublished texts and calligraphies, gives us sincere impressions and feelings.

Brins d’herbe (Actes Sud, 2011)

brins d'herbe

Choreograph, dancer, poet and calligrapher, Carolyn Carlson offers a succession of poems as Japanese haikus and yakas. These short poems express a reminiscence, a feeling, a state of the soul, inspired by the spiritual thought of the author.

 Dialogue avec Rothko (Invenit, 2011)

DwR« It would be good that places could be built everywhere in the country, some sort of small chapels, in which a traveler or a wanderer could meditate long on a single painting hung in a small room. » (Mark Rothko) : no other artist shares the ambition of the Ekphrasis collectionas naturally. In regard to this sensorial fusion between the work and the one who receives it, choreographer, dancer and poet Carolyn Carlson naturally establishes herself, her who prefers talking about « visual poerty » than « choreography ». French/English edition.
Translated from American English by Jean-Pierre Siméon.

This book is not published anymore, some copies are for sale at our boutique during tour.

Traces d’encre (Actes Sud, 2013)

Traces d'encreAs choreographer and dancer, Carolyn Carlson works on an ephemeral language, the move that has already vanished as soon as it is set in space. Space for improvisation, spontaneous story, is a t the heart of Carolyn Carlson’s research, the movement is born by itself, in a moment of let go allowing it to free its strength. Yet the movement is only one language used by Carlson, who is also a poet and a calligrapher. These two languages are presented in the album Traces d’encre. Calligraphies de Carolyn Carlson ; black of the ink, white of the paper, in a series of new calligraphies.

Carolyn Carlson, de l’intime à l’universel (Thierry Delcourt, Actes Sud, 2015)

bioPsychiatrist and psychoanalyst Thierry Delcourt has written this biographical essay dedicated to the choreographer, dancer, calligrapher, poet and pedagogue Carolyn Carlson. This book explores every genra used by Carlson to express and pass her creative world along. It is the first study of a kind dedicated to the artist, whose uninterrupted creation has lasted for more than fifty years. This essay, which follows a chronological biography, relies on lines of force coming out of Carolyn Carlson’s productions, which most important and maybe most singular one is the notion of visual poetry.

Writings on water (Co-written with Hélène de Talhouët, Actes Sud 2017)

WoWCarolyn Carlson has always written, drawn, painted. To dance and in dancing, should we say about the choreographer who qualifies her dance of visual poetry. Carlson smiles as she talks about the billions of blackened and colored pages from her notebooks that she gave to the BnF in 2013. As many valuable witnesses of her thought, her link to nature, her creative process, her craziness and her humor.
Ecrits sur l’eau, from Carolyn Carlson’s eponymous piece, gives the name to an exhibition inviting to a journey though the European cities of water where the American choreographer has taken residence : Paris, Helsinki, Venise, Roubaix.

Au bord de l’infini (Original poems and drawings, Le Passeur 2019)

Au-bord-de-l-infini-suivi-de-Dialogue-avec-Rothko 2

Combined with her Dialogue with Rothko, Carolyn Carlson’s new collection of poems brings its reader to an exploration into the transformations of life. The book also introduces exclusive drawings by the choreographer-artist.
French/English edition.
Translated from American English by Jean-Pierre Siméon