ISBN: 9780925904041

Poetry: 48 pages

1991

 

Quirks & Quillets is a book that you HOLD and that holds you. In what terms might I describe what this book is physically? I am greatly impressed by how it responds to one's hands, which I think is partly because Chax Press has designed here a horizontal rectangle rather than a vertical one (a small "plot of land" or grid of activity for its words), the way its text "crops" its own verbal activity-

 

grids are common in some way crops shape the elsewhere occupied needles health derives its singular strand fluid clear circle through (30)

 

-to the weight of the pages. The pages stay open, hold open in your hands (the way children's books can have the same shape, insistence, the pages weighty and W I D E enough for the eye to roam with comfort-that is, the page says: read me here or dally with me or do you see this is also a visual "feeling").

 

Each page is itself a self-constituting typographic work. A generous point size makes words physical, engages, corralled into a justified "plot" at the center of each page. White space gathers the words into a physical fete in the center of the frame. ("Not rhythm yet repetition she said so it was/ written to be recorded but if heard then/ listened to attentively without false moves.")

 

The words are slippage within this frame. Where they might point is slipping ("minus cement lessen/ the load," i.e., lesson). The lesson of their texture is that it bleeds (slips) into the pattern of their fabric. ("In this small way the body translates to taste or/ smell compared for lack of equilibrium...") Or, the words are the weights that hold the semantic "pages" open, as the parsing itself has weight as solid as atomic weight (and plays):

 

Assigned blue water is clear conception's more than that could show fox prints early in the h's night swift owl or surly bands signal the impression wind before window whatever that means to the letter... (35)

Quirks & Quilets by Karen Mac Cormack

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