Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Exile of the Pwoermd

Too late at night to be doing this, I write this supine and with thumbs, so I may be as brief as a pwoermd. 

The pwoermd, whether funny or serious, profane or sacrilegious, is usually a poem about language. A pwoermd can be written in any language, but the structures of a language's word-formation and spelling can have a large effect on on what a pwoermd can do and does. 

For instance, because English and French are the world's two worst spelled languages, I have much more success writing pwoermds in those languages thans in Spanish, which is a very sensibly spelled language, even when viewed across dialects with different pronunciation protocols. English and Frenxh afford the pwoermdist a rich visual component to pwoermding. 

We will take, for example, the great achievement of Jeremy Stewart tonight, who has created a wildly varied set of homophonic pwoermds that underscore the essentially erratic orthography of English and the massively rich potential for different meaning possible on a single syllable in English. 

Orthography and orthöepy are not one in English. And Jeremy aims his eye and ear at this fact. Here's the collection he accreted today:

exaisle

exhilil

hexile

ex-I'll 

exeyel

excile

exsighle

And then imagine how you would interpret these if you had only heard each of these: exile. Banishment. Abandonment. Loneliness. 

Yet the words to the eye suggest many different interpretations: the space where an aisle used to exist, the intellectual space after nihilism, a magical pattern in cloth, that action you will not do in the past, the former way in which you saw, the excitement of being banished, an exhalalation that is a sigh of regret. 

A richness, a craziness, a peek into the inner workings of a language. When I say the pun is the highest form of literature, I mean that seriously. Writers write with language. The purest way to right is by using the tools of language to write something that cannot be written in another language. 

That is what Jeremy Stewart does here.  

pw(o’er)md




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