Friday, April 3, 2015

The lighf of Bob

Tonight's discussion of the work of a pwoermdist will be short, a simple talk about a simple perfect pwoermd by my friend Bob Grumman, now dead.

The pwoermd is


The influence is clear: Aram Saroyan, the first real pwoermdist, the person who really opened up the world to the minimal of minimalistestness.

One can even hear the sound of Aram's best-known and second-best pwoermd


in the sound of it. One can even see the sight of it: Take out the second "gh" (my initials), and turn the t upside down, and (voila), you have Bob's pwoermd.

But influence isn't destiny. Bob's pwoermd fights with and against and on the side of that influence. Take the central pair of letters, gh: They are silent in the word "lighght." Double them, triple them, and they make no additional sound.

But the gh pair in English makes a number of sounds: silence, a hard gh, even an f, and in "life."

Bob takes the word "light," with its sense of warmth, livingness, and brightness, and he makes is what the sun (a source of light) is to us: a source of life, what keeps life going.

There are two eff's in this pwoermd, in two different orthographical forms, both dependence on the other.

Without both forms of the eff, we would have a different sound from this pwoermd: either "liff," which is a watered-down pun for "life"; or lie, which is a lie, a deadend, a deadened sound.

One of the few perfect pwoermds, written in the language best suited for pwoermds, though French is good, and Finnish is pretty great.

A master pwoermdist, now dead, but not yet forgotten.


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