Review of Maria Damon and mIEKAL aND's Literature Nation (Bedford, MA: Potes & Poets Press, 2003)
[Diamond stuttered], dress of moonrays. Glim stars, shark leaves.Is it really the beginning? Is "she" our muse? What stuttered facets are these? As the poem continues, its arrangement feels almost traditional in its insistence on shape, almost prosaic. Some lines even approach the sentence. Perhaps, the restrictions of a print version. And shape or form is important. It's the way we've come to look at it. Looking deeper, the strongly imagistic and playful use of language, with its abrupt and brief phrasing (both within and out of brackets), suggests looking in a new way, suggests the worn ends of something as the starting point for our rediscovery:
Harsh, not feeling too well, awestricken of beauty. Forest of light,
[dress made of light], she wonders where it begins and she ends,
she begins and it ends, [she turns into forest, into light].
[dress made of light]As a printed work, the form is not traditional. This section begins or is linked to with a bracketed, embedded phrase from the previous construct. But why brackets? Is it simply a textual recreation of a hyperlink?
The decision toward light, now for the wake of, iconoclasts, of
liberation of the mindless, minutes after & not before trees reveal a
suction forecast, a hasty core deigned [fringe & tatters], the dress
worn thin to seeds, germination delayed.
[the dying Shakespearean]We're not to rely on our traditional sense of text. It is in between or somewhere else. Somewhere new. The old ways of reading, the old ways of arriving at meaning, the old ways of understanding language fall away. They are not important or they are only important as a natural progression. Or some kind of progression. The nature of things and language as shaped by what. Another section from "the second travel:"
Not remembered for his scholarship, but the care & logos of his
garden, the flowers organized like sonnets around the rockscape.
In this literature nation his epoch is [footnoted discreetly] between
season & the coming of the storm.
[language proceeds breakneck]Is this a new concept, re-evaluating the dangerous detritus of language in its regurgitations? I don't think so. Is it worth writing a book about and then reading? Yes. Can it be controlled? We try to do it.
Lethal punning, are-we-not in the thicket of danger, dragged in the
monster of demonstratum est. His snarling teeth and fiery [maw,
world-mauling] words to melt the barriers of reference. One
misplaced nuance and the booby trap collapses on you, you hurtle
to the other end of the birth canal, along with [Dante in the
depths], into the unmade new.
[randomness]It's not nature, but many references to nature and its imagery abound in the work. Itıs a kind of list. "Literature Nation" is a constant, but continually growing idea. It's not a place or we simply haven't arrived there yet. The society, without their knowing, changes with it. We try to control it by speaking to one another, teaching, writing books about it, making things.
[Not to be confused] with spurious or mindless, not to be confused
with the processes of nature, not to be confused with the [odds of
winning], but rather the simplicity of one thing replacing another,
seamlessly, seemingly without reason & conspiration. The
randomness of time arranging the juxtaposition of language
[words are so dear]We know the old poet. We reside among the disentanglements and promises. The palimpsest continues in our welcome. We can only make use of what came before us, even if we don't understand or see it or know how. We don't reject the old ways. We simply look at them in another light. Perhaps, the multifarious light of the computer monitor.
When the petulant old poet spoke, there was much rejoicing in the
land of emptiness and fullness. Now he has died and his face has
become a landscape of disentanglements and half-understood
promises. Was he wise or foolish, Literature Nation welcomes her