Wednesday, November 29, 2006



Signed Even as a Waiting by Paul Klinger
(Dusi/e, 2006)

I'm charmed by this chap: its scale, its palette, its drawings, its editings -- such that its maker Paul Klinger has created a visual poetry manifesting landscape (vs. place). And from landscape, which one can extend to environment, one then can visualize a poem made from a poetics of attention.

Signed Even as a Waiting by Paul Klinger was created by taking a print-out of P.J. Bailey's "Festus" and then making erasures (black lines blocking out words and phrases) to create a new result. Maybe I'm drawn to it because I just released a new book, too, that relies on others' texts viz hay(na)ku extractions and my translation of the painterly technique of scumbling (that'd be DREDGING FOR ATLANTIS -- sorry (well, not really) for the advertising of my own book here. Anyway...).

In Signed Even as a Waiting, Klinger's editing creates lines as valid as the source text, and often intriguing ones -- lines like

lights, the morn
falsely wear
the mere auroras


The eye dims
to one point

In the second example, the semi-colon is critical and that Klinger didn't block it out means he wasn't just erasing phrases to draw a visual image.

I mention visual imagery because the edited pages do work as drawings. My interpretation of the images are locked into terrain -- that what I see are rivers, the edges of cliffs, valleys, mountains and so on. Such sense of terrain is enhanced by the palette: a pale brown cover, cream pages, the "Festus" text presented as brown copies against the cream backdrop, and the editing occuring through black ink.

At one point, I was tempted to look up "Festus" and compare all of the original lines to Klinger's extractions. That might still be interesting, but I opted not to (at this point, or for purpose of this review) because I thought what Klinger created was an entity whole upon itself. That is, the poem transcends its particular process (which it overtly indicates on its title page) by not requiring the reader to rely on any knowledge except what one reads right then on the poem's pages.

With his balance of drawing and text-editing, Klinger offers a fresh take on the not-so-new approach of relying on others' texts to create new poems. It is a charming result -- perhaps summed up by another excerpt meticulously lifted from its source:

first words
points from which


amid the ruins of
one theme--
the story of the land

but it saddens
like shadows
no mark
like a pure
hoped, sought


Eileen Tabios' books are not eligible for review in Galatea Resurrects because she edits this puppy; these orphans languish here; here; here; here; here; and here.


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