Amy Catanzano’s “The Periodic Table of Poetry”
Amy Catanzano has a very interesting piece in Jacket 2 called “The Periodic Table of Poetry,” which is part of her series called “Quantum Poetics,” in which she “will write as a ’pataphysical correspondent, speculative documentarian, and poetry informant, reporting on largely under-acknowledged questions about literature and science and drawing from quantum poetics.”
Catanzano discusses Cutting Time with a Knife in the context of quantum electrodynamics:
In contrast to classical electromagnetism, a branch of theoretical physics that relies on the outdated ideas of Isaac Newton’s classical mechanics, which, using Leong’s language, operates as an “economics of only and also,” Robert Feynman’s quantum electrodynamics, the quantum mechanical version of classical electromagnetism, describes how electrically charged particles interact by exchanging photons. Poetry is also an exchange between the text and thinker, and Cutting Time With a Knife, so named after Burroughs’ statement that “If you cut into the present, the future leaks out,” creates an exchange between poetry and science; in these ways and others, I see Leong’s project having a mechanics that is more quantum than classical.
Catanzano ends by mentioning a work-in-progress by Adam Dickinson that sounds extremely cool–Anatomic: Biosemiotic Bodies and Chemical Environments. Dickinson explains, “This is a research-creation project that involves biomonitoring and microbiome testing to produce a book of poetry that reframes the body (my body) as a being overwritten by toxic chemicals yet constantly subject (in necessary ways) to the biosemiotic interference of other microbial lifeforms. My objective is to combine innovative trends in contemporary poetics with science and environmental ethics by researching and writing poetry that will emerge (in terms of themes and methodological approaches) from a toxicological and symbiotic map of my own body.”