Radical Books of 2012 @ post position
I’m both pleased and grateful that Cutting Time with a Knife made Nick Montfort’s “Radical Books of 2012” list–not only because Nick is a wickedly clever writer himself (he’s the author of, among other things, the delightful Riddle and Bind (Spineless Books, 2010) and, with William Gillespie, 2002: A Palindrome Story (Spineless Books, 2002))–but also because, on Nick’s list, CTWAK is sandwiched between two formidable works: Les Figues Press’ I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing By Women and Xu Bing’s Book from the Ground. Fine company to be in.
Here’s what Nick had to say about CTWAK:
When randomness is employed in poetics and succeeds, it is because of how it plays within regularity of different sorts. This book sutures the two very well. Concrete elemental squares sit at the top of each page, containing irregularly arranged phrases of regular syntax (“The [buttock] of the poet is the [geodesic dome] of [Rhodium].”) The text and sometimes symbols underneath read like a Google Books snippet view. Leong constructed this book “by etherizing T.S. Eliot’s classic essay,” “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” upon the periodic table. The cyborg text, animated with galvanic force, is made from cut-ups of this essay and the Wikipedia articles for the 118 elements. The periodic table has offered a rich lattice for poetic production, digital and otherwise; here, the unique twist was provided by the amalgamation of this tabular framework with an (ostensibly random) avant-garde writing technique, a classic essay on how individuality relates to commonality and a collaboratively-authored encyclopedia.