To jump-start our blog, we decided to feature three eye-catching books that play with formal expectations. This week's selections show us how the poetic deconstruction of both language and form can create new levels of meaning, both textually and visually.
Coach House Books
Multitudes’ eye(s)-catching cover is only a hint of what rests between its pages. Christakos flirts with the language of the digital age in order to teach us how to understand what at first seems unreadable. By breaking words down into their parts, Christakos forces her readers to fill in the gaps, not just in meaning, but between letters. She textually and visually illustrates the interaction between the parts and the whole, the few and the many, and shows us the “multitumultitumultitumultitudes” of meanings in our expanding, networked culture.
The Place of Scraps
The Place of Scraps is an exercise in erasure poetry where the gaps between words mimic the gaps in Canadian history. The book functions as an alternative textbook, one in which the removal of words from their sentences metaphorically parallels the “remov[al]” of “thousands/ of Indians.” The message is one of displacement, of words from their original context, of bodies from place, and of the scraps Abel reconstructs to create a space for dialogue.
Writing Surfaces: Selected Fiction of John Riddell
Wilfred Laurier University Press
In Writing Surfaces, editors Lori Emerson and derek beaulieu re-present a selection of work by John Riddell who has a habit of transforming the textual into the visual. Writing Surfaces features a mix of Riddell’s typewriter-based concrete poetry mixed with some fiction and drawings. His procedural, analogue-based methods of composition, while conventionally illegible, question what it means to ‘read’ poetry and asks us to reexamine what we consider to be poetic.