The body and the page: tracing making


Writing comes from the body, out of the senses and rhythms of the body. The interstitial and the uncertainty in immanence is part of that process.

Sense data arrives on moments. Bodily syntax isn’t smooth. The body has its digressions that the thinking body theorises. Memory is made up of fragment and trace. A heart has its arrhythmias. As do words, so hard consonants disrupt mellifluous vowels. Thus, a rhythm.

For instance, whenever my writing starts en plein air, so to speak, I am not just employing an observational mode. And when I make poems with a broken or collaged narrative, that can emerge from acts of walking, changing trains, changing travel modes, the coming and going of bodies, voices, weathers. It is a continuing exploration of language and location. Fracture and discontinuity are real experiences of energy and movement.

Poems are made with the materials of this world, its languages, its scratchings and surfaces, its keys and screens, as well as the poet’s body and life. This gets into the line, the trace of the poem on the page. Presences and absences are enacted in the poem on the page through the use of lineation. The turn, the enjambment, interrupts meaning, even if only minutely, even if it seems a smooth turn. Making a line turn, or break, is a decision.

With the written poem, the page is where the line acts, it isn’t empty. For me, even the making of poetry begins in a space, though it’s not one I can easily define. I’m talking about a poem’s ecology, if you will, its own dynamics, its topography - maybe that is what is ‘uncounterfeitable’.

Then there’s that ‘I’ which is present in some way, but I as a relation, to others, to othernesses, to the work of poetry and bodily thinking. No I but in the world.

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