Saturday, January 01, 2005

Let R & B

The last piece of mailart I received in 2004 came from Roy Arenella. This is not much of a surprise since the prolific Arenella is my most frequent correspondent and since this was his 520th mailart mailing of the year. We'll soon see if something from Roy is my first piece of mailart for the year.

This card is one of Roy's altered photographs, one in which he scratches a text onto the face of a photograph. It's a unique form of Arenellan visual writing. This piece Roy wrote for Larry Eigner, an American poet who wrote simple spare poems that spread out across the page in wisps of text. Strangely, until I read this card of Roy's, I had no idea that I have always imagined Eigner's poems written across the sky.

Roy Arenella, "View of Moments" (28 Dec 2004)

This photograph is quite simple: a sky almost entirely obscured by clouds, the black silhouette of a bird (a pigeon, I think) not plunging but flying across the sky but pointed downward, and a utility pole leaning leftward, its single line extending to the right and holding it in place. Atop this text, Roy has transcribed a (slightly modified) quotation from the poet Cid Corman (who died earlier this year in Japan).

I assume the quotation by Corman is about Eigner, but I can't be sure. If it is, it suggests that the apparently atomized language of Eigner's poems work because the arrangement of the words creates an unalterable and perfect field of text--a way of meaning a seemingly coherent paragraph cannot muster.

Since we have a bird flying on the obverse of this card, the two stamps applied to the reverse are a 10-cent commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of US arimail service and a 13-cent US Airmail stamp. Interestingly, Roy's pseudo-cancellation stamp inclues the rubberstamp of a man who is rowing a boat and using large wings as oars.

un violon d'ingres

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