Thursday, December 30, 2004

Drawing a Thought out of Writing

About two weeks before Christmas, Roy Arenella sent me a beautiful catalog ("Ian Hamilton Finlay: Prints") in a mailing, and I was simultaneously exalted and disheartened. Finlay is one of my favorite visual writers, the catalog is beautiful, and it includes an wonderful little essay on Finlay's work. But I was sad to realize all the chances I'd missed to see this show in New York City. I was in New York for work during four of the days this show was open, and on the last day of the show I was in Poughkeepsie (an easy train ride away) and was trying to decide whether to travel to New York for the publication party for Lit 9 (which included a number of my visual poems. But I decided I hadn't enough justification to make the trip.

Inside the letter, Roy shows me something of his process for creating a remarkable little semiotic poem. He begins by sketching out his "assignment":


Roy Arenella, Draft of "From Point thru Word to Line"
(7 Nov 2004)

Then he revises the poem into its final form:


Roy Arenella, Final Version of
"From Point thru Word to Line" (7 Nov 2004)

Quite remarkable. The letters in this poem are almost totally transformed into shapes that appear to transfer meaning to us without words. But could we read it aloud?

un violon d'ingres

1 comment:

JPaul23 said...

Interesting. You should check out Austin Osman Spare and his sigilisation techniques