Afton Wilky, The Philosophy of Decomposition, Language Folds

I’m looking at some of Afton Wilky’s beautiful text-image compositions that are available for viewing on her blog; the piece above comes from a project called Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea. This certainly looks like something to look out for.

Wilky also has a really thoughtful review of my long poem The Philosophy of Decomposition/Re-Composition as Explanation: A Poe and Stein Mash-Up that Delete Press published last year as a limited-edition chapbook. Wilky’s piece is not only a sharp example of close reading but close thinking as well. Here’s a portion that I especially appreciated:

Throughout the text…I get the sense that language is actually folding over and over itself, and the repetition of the word and punctuation with its morphemes are enacting their very own mash-up, which becomes so gorgeously audible.  Thus the mash-up process of the text and composition as “decomposition” and “re-composition” reveal POD / RAE’s very own original and contemporary understanding of language.  It is from the midst of language as unoriginal, from someone-else’s page that language is seen clearly for what it is: a system of parts recycled and re-inscribed as needed in an infinite number of contexts.

I am certainly interested in (perhaps obsessed with) language’s multiple pleats and folds.  After I read a new poem at an event at Rutgers University last week, someone from the audience had emailed me that night to say that the piece made her “think about the way words never stop unfolding.”  And this is Estela Lamat’s blurb of my first book: “Leong…anticipates language, he folds it, he breaks it into pieces of infinite and impeccable meanings as a wise child making figures of origami.”

Language folding over and over itself.  Language unfolding.  Poetry as linguistic origami.

~ by Michael Leong on May 3, 2012.

2 Responses to “Afton Wilky, The Philosophy of Decomposition, Language Folds”

  1. Hi–
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the review. I really enjoyed the text.
    I have to tell you, though, that it was such an uncanny experience to have your blog-update come through my email with my name in it.
    The review is currently under consideration at Jacket2 and I’ll be sure to let you know if it’s picked up there. Otherwise, if there are venues you think would be interested, feel free to let me know about them. I’d hate for people to miss out on such an exciting project!

    • Thanks, Afton–and thanks again for the careful reading. I suppose that there’s always more room for uncanny experiences!

      Jacket2 is a great publication–I check it out fairly regularly. Good luck with that!

      As far as other venues–I had a nice experience publishing a review in Tarpaulin Sky…you get two TS paperbacks as payment. I got a copy of Noah Eli Gordon and Josh Wilkinson’s collaboration, Figures for a Darkroom Voice; I really like the prose poems in that book.

      And speaking of Noah and Josh–they edit The Volta, which is a tremendously good web publication. My review of Jen Karmin’s book was just a “Friday Feature” there:

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