Tuesday, April 14, 2015
A word can stand alone and mean. It can.
And a word can stand among other words and mean as well. That is also true.
A word can even exist amidst a visual field of color and shape and letters, and still provide us with meaning. This happens. This does happen now.
Catherine Ednie has started down this path this month, with two beautiful visual pwoermds that vacillate between image and word, that give us split words, unknown boundaries, and mistiness and mystery instead of murkiness and madness.
Two pieces, two wide digital canvases, two words, each broken in two.
One is something like "NO T," not quite only one word, but something like a word fractured to give it more meaning. The visual breaking gives us that. But it's not just three letters. Following the T, there are three letters only partially visible. They may read "ONE." The poem may read "NO/TONE," or the poem may be "NO/T/ONE." In the latter case, the word is about there being not one way, not one sound to make from the sequence of letters, not even one clear reading of any sequence possible.
Our you can have before you a word reading "YOU\CH." Once again, tmesis takes center stage by clearing that part of the state, the part between the first three and the last two letters. This break creates two words: the YOU who the poem is talking to and the YOUCH or OUCH the YOU is feeling.
But something else happens. The word TOUCH almost appears. It's not there, but it seems to be there. The TOUCH might cause the YOUCH or might serve as the gentleness opposing the roughness that caused the YOUCH.
For us, the answer to this is less interesting or necessary than the need to consider the question, how any poem is more the thinking about it than the reality of it.