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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Rhythm of the Moon



It is a rule so universal that it need now be said, "A pwoermd is a poem of a single word that may consist of a simple string of letters or of a string of letters somehow modified from their usual forms or presented in some visual form or simply the suggestion of letters that do not exist."

That's clear. We don't need to consider it further.

Gary Barwin is a poet of mixed means, one who works in whatever manner makes sense for what he wants to do at whatever particular time he is making. His skills are verbal, visual, musical. He has a novel about a parrot coming out from Random House Canada next year. His family moves to a new continent with every new generation.

That's clear, so we can move on to the pwoermds.

Reflection is a powerful tool of vision. (I wrote a pwoermd about it today: "merror.") Reduplication that is simultaneously creating opposites is attractive. The eye cannot believe what it sees because it is so real, yet completely backwards.

And the moon reflects itself in the black lake at night, and it is both itself, and not itself, and itself doubled. And Gary shows us that, but with a visual legerdemain that is breathtakingly simple.

In the world of English-language visual poetry, "rhythm" is one of the miracles of visual and aural possibility. There is much to do with the word, and much left to do.

But Gary plays with it through punctuation. The square brackets hold everything in place, and within the space the parentheses give it the roundness of rhythm, the irregularity of form, the chance to make us feel the beat through nothing more than our eyes.

Simple fine visual pwoermds.
pw(o'er)md
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