Noah Eli Gordon’s The Source: an investigation in constrained bibliomancy and ambient research (Futurepoem Books, 2011)
My review of Noah Eli Gordon’s The Source is now up in Hyperallergic Weekend, a new online magazine edited by John Yau, Thomas Micchelli, Claudia La Rocco and Albert Mobilio. From January 2008 to September 2009, Gordon created The Source by appropriating and collaging material that he found only on page 26 from thousands of books at the Denver Public Library. In the spirit of this appropriative impulse, I end my review with a prose poem of my own that draws on page 26 of Gordon’s book and paragraphs from Borges’ short story “The Library of Babel” and Foucault’s essay “Fantasia of the Library.”
The [Re]Source: An Exegetical Collage
Our solar system (which others call the Library) is composed of infinitesimal fragments, among which grows, interminably, an indefinite distribution of orbital time. In vast shafts formed by the blessings of experience, dormant monuments may sleep (and even dream) standing up. Here, among long galleries of shelves, which bear the black and white fruit of enclosure, one can see the upper floors from which a zealous mirror sinks abysmally into the void and, with closed eyes, soars upwards in incessant spirals of duplication. From this, men usually infer that a longer, more assiduous spiral is writing the universe.
The Library, it is true, is infinite — as a ceiling is only the transversally placed wakefulness of the sky. Thus, there is no book that is not faithfully polished by tradition or hushed by daily incongruities of thinking. In the remote distances, hexagonal voices are turning into a higher frequency of babble. One speaks many constant but respectful vows to part the spherical surfaces of desire and rest carefully in the summoned interstice. Between the creative urge and one’s fecal necessities, a new imaginative space can transmit columns of imaginary books grounded only by uncertain dreams of what is contrary. Perhaps the Source is performing its commentaries, identical to a repetition that only happened once. But no: it comes from the past to exact its accuracy. In the library of nature, we’ve counted the now and reduced it to an infinite feeling of attention. Phantasms no longer liberate the closets of impossible worlds. Henceforth, the visionary experience arises within the confines of a normal bookcase, amassing loved facts unknown to the sleep of reason. It signs its name on the invariable surface of all appearances; it treasures the actual clamor born between an illusory book and an illusory lamp; it is surrounded with infinite distance; it evolves when the singularly modern sun opens and passes through the scarcely closed interval of a nineteenth century night; it expresses the phenomenon in which matter duplicates spirit to form tight, image free documents, reproductions of reproductions aligned with the power of impossible compensation.
The heart of the Source takes shape in the domain of its untiring recensions. It evokes a flight of fantastic books expressed in a minute of reading. Its subject, no longer a property of reality, has shaped large railings of erudition, possibly responding to the narrow hallway that leads to a fantastic yet insufficient stairway in the air. Why this denial? The journey stands before us. The Source now resides in forgotten words deployed in vigilance, dusty words printed relatively in light.