Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Stephen Nelson: McGuire poem.
This was made for me by the inimitable Stephen Nelson over at afterlights. I asked for it.
I asked Stephen for a name/poem last year.
He said, Aye!
I received an email.
L.P scratched off abruptly.
What is this mess I was see before me, I thought? It was meaningless. Incomprehensible. Visual nonsense. Ugly. I didn't want to offend. I told him it was a bit harsh or something like that. Then he sent me the name/poem you see above. The original he sent is picture below in red.
I neglected it to be honest. Memory was provoked today when I read the review of his new book - Lunar Poems for New Religions - by Claire Askew at One Night Stanza. So with an element of sycophancy and a realisation that the above black and white name/poem is actually pretty damn good and suits my character down to a tee, I thought I'd air it on this here blog.
Stephen Nelson perplexes me. His concrete, visually poetry perplexes me. I look at it like a Doberman looks at a mathematical equation - completely oblivious of the importance of what lies before it, content in its ignorance. Recently I realised that he is pretty damn good, that his avant garde approach is designed to baffle. It certainly isn't for everyone. It's experimental. Yet even simply a visual thing, a 'picture', 'art' they are quite amazing. They beg you to ask questions. Decipher. Find out what they signify. At once playful. Visceral. Free-Associative.
My name/poem contains these ingredients:
*The letters of my surname. Upside down, inverted, some large, others smaller.
*Brackets (or, parenthesis) within which the letters of my name are guarded.
*Two upside down question marks flank either side of the letters and brackets
*Two commas lie beneath the question mark, again upside down.
This is all contained in a wee nucleus like cell which of course encapsulates my name. What does it mean? Nothing. It could be pretentiously put as indicating, the insufficiency of language to full explain the mystery of personal identity. I like that idea. It could be a visual metaphor highlighting the chaotic and baffling nature of McGuire and his slapdash approach to poetry and writing.
At the very least it has a visual riot that I have come to appreciate of recent more than I did when I received it. Have a look at afterlight, you will surely be baffled, intrigued, dismiss it all as preposterous, then notice one you would like on your wall.
With love X
Save the best/worst till last. This was the original Stephen sent but I wasn't that into it. Meaning, visually it did nothing for me. You might think differently. Look on.