Puns appear in or as pwoermds all the time, but the puns are sometimes not with the sounds of works but the sight of them: what has been left off of the word, what has been added, or how the word is spelled. Sound may or may not have anything to do with it, because pwoermds are often perceptible only by sight. They disappear.
Take the pwoermd
It vanishes if you hear it. The word is still there, but the pwoermd is gone, the the point of it has disappeared. You can't hear how this is a poem about emotional intelligence over the intellectual variety. Or consider the pwoermd
Meaning is disrupted by the replacement of a single letter. Something that is possible to sell has become something that is possible to divide into cells. The reason for this difference in meaning is not so much meaningful in terms of semiotics as revelatory: we are shown how a homophonous letter radically changes meaning. We learn the plasticity of language, of written language, and how it exists on a plane related to but separate from true language: the spoken variety.
Another kind of pwoermding mirrors letters to suggest exactly what the letters are doing:
upsidepisdnEvery letter except the middle e that serves as the axle of the pwoermd, is repeated upside down by the letters that follow it. We see the word as "upsidedown," but that isn't how it reads. The word cannot be pronounced in a regular way in English: up-side-pis-dn. The pwoermd breaks its rules of perfected mirroring, leaves us with a hanging "pis" in the far end of itself, and becomes an example of pwoermdic
, which is a pwoermd that defines itself, self-reflexive, as most pwoermds are. Most pwoermds are not about things but about language and about themselves. Though they don't always do this and are not always omphalokeptic. Sometimes, a turn of word (for pwoermds don't extend to the complexity of a phrase) changes the wor)l(d:
warshopThis is a political pwoermd, the kind of pwoermd that might have been written in the 1960s if they weren't all written by the word-obsessed hippyish Aram Saroyan. In this pwoermd, we see that the practice of war is a practice of faith, we learn that the goal the believer reveres is as much a religion as it is ward, we understand that the shop the warmongers play in are temples of their own thoughts. Just as we learn that
literapertureshows us that literature is a way to see the world--and that that smallest corner of literature (pwoermdy) is also a way to see the world. Literature affects and directs perfection, maybe well, maybe badly, maybe to the good, maybe to the bad. So I must
counterfessthat I am not not surprised by this pwoermd--how it takes a word and gives us a way to look at something differently, how denial becomes not itself (the act of arguing that you have not done something), how denial becomes a way of confessing that you did not do something,
providing a way to admit a sin of omission.
But we cannot use this word, we cannot make a sentence around it, we have to allow it to exist as a suggestion, as a concept, as something we cannot use as a word, as a pwoermd, inviolate, apractical, alone, useful exactly for its syntactic uselessness.