Andrew Joron’s “What Spills Spells”

Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1517-18, pen and black ink with wash, 16.2 x 20.3 cm.

“Spillage […] is the formless form of non-resemblance,” Andrew Joron tells us in his essay “What Spills Spells,” which marvelously takes on, among other things, George Bataille’s notion of “l’informe,” Leonardo da Vinci’s deluge drawings, and Pound’s and Olson’s ideogrammic/glyphic methods. Joron’s piece is part of the Poetry Foundation’s April Blogathon for National Poetry Month.

My take on Joron’s luminous new book of poems The Absolute Letter (Flood Editions, 2017) appeared in Hyperallergic back in November. “What Spills Spells” is an excellent primer to Joron’s poetic philosophy/philology and makes for a perfect companion to The Absolute Letter: “A vestige of the Absolute remains […] in the arbitrary, contingent shapes of the letters of the alphabet—their rills and runnels are coagulations of an untamed turbulence toward which the poetic Word perpetually tends.”

~ by Michael Leong on April 7, 2018.

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