Time And Place

One of the best solutions I have for writer’s block is change my location for writing. Environmental intake can be an issue for me when writing; things like smell, sound, sight… I hadn’t really considered until college how much these factors affect my writing, especially in poetry. For example, I recently was stuck on a conceptual poem, intended for my senior project, trying to capture a specific mood of disappointment, so I decided to walk outside the front doors of my dorm to see if the changed environmental factors would help, and I would definitely say they would. I hoped that the same factors would help with conceptualizing my book object.

Full shot of poem outside dorm

Does this finished work qualify as a “book” though? In Ulises Carrión’s essay “The New Art of Making Books”, the author states that “a book is a sequence of spaces. Each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment – a book is also a sequence of moments. A book is not a case of words, nor a bag of words, nor a bearer of words.” I would say that there is… not necessarily a narrative being conveyed in my poem, but the poem is hopefully representative of the time and space I hoped it to take place in.

Closeup of poem

In regards to Carrión’s ideas on the abstract forms a book can take, author Amaranth Borsuk discusses how the explorers of forms a book can take, “book artists”, have “explored this spaciality by creating virtual realities that puncture the two-dimensional plane of the page.” The poem I wrote was so mentally tied to a specific time and place that it felt wrong to capture that moment in a text not tied to that location and setting.

As with most poetry I write, the poem above was written in a stream of consciousness manner, but as it was written prior to the arrangement of the book object. So, to account for that in the arrangement, I formed the physical lines of text in dissonant shapes and lines, to represent the sudden form in which they were written. I considered the physical act of reading the poem while arranging the book as well, as, because the psychical lines are not cohesively linear, it would not be possible to read in a traditional line-by-line manner. I feel the arrangement resembles the process of thought that occurred while writing the poem, relating to Borsuk’s ideas on physical traversal of text, as she says “our experience is itself the text, which will be different for each viewer because of what we have seen before, between, and after these pages.”

Works Cited

Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. The MIT Press, 2018.

Carrion, Ulises. The New Art of Making Books. Aegean Editions, 2001.

3 thoughts on “Time And Place”

  1. I really like how you focused on how the place can make a difference in your writing. I really like how you really thought out of the box for your book. I think we are often restricted when it comes to what counts as a book. I really like the direction you took for this assignment.

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  2. Magnificent! You have taken so much into consideration in each of your choices. I’m interested in the window as a two-dimensional plane, like the page, but one that is transparent and reflective; the tape, then, which is also just a little bit transparent, adds dimension to that surface. There is a very dynamic play of immanence and transcendence, even thematically, with the clouds as a dominant visual feature, and with the language “stuck” in a physical and geographical place. The “Appalachian horizon” is a lovely line to land on: the end of the earth, the beginning of the sky…the placement of the taped lines of text remind me of mountains in the distance.

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