Trial Balloons

(poèmes en anglais / poems in English)
 

"Dickow makes a number of minor but alarming changes to the syntax of this otherwise lucid English sentence: “forth” instead of “fro,” “the underneath” instead of “underneath,” etc. One might stubbornly read through these syntactic derangements—or one might treat them as an invitation into a cubist world, a world in which multiple meanings overlap, jostling for space. In this poem, your knees are puckered, and they transfer that collapse to the space beneath them. In these ludic moments, Dickow opens the possibility of a different kind of reading, a reading which circles and retreats, which bends with syntax, giving itself to the pleasure of disturbance. As Dickow writes in a footnote to his poem, “Intaglio Suite”: “[O]ur recipes for reading may require some reinvention.”

Elsewhere, Dickow stimulates our appetite for reinvention by pluralizing the space of the page. His self-translates “Literature Exam” into—or from?—French: moving back and forth between the two versions of the poem, the reader looses track of which poem is the original, taking pleasure in the capacity of translated poetry to be in two places at once. The poem asks us to “Circle the correct answer”—a paradoxical, impossible feat, as Dickow acknowledges. The correct answer, he announces, is “False.” Or, in “Trick Sonnet,” Dickow supplies a series of definitions for the poem’s key words, a task that resembles marginalia but defies the subsidiary character of the marginal: the long string of definitions becomes its own poem, intimately invested in linguistic possibilities which branch away from the original poem. “A gathering describes a kind of sore,” Dickow writes in the sonnet itself. His poem represents just such a sore, collapsing the Oulipian interest in the sonnet with the conceptual obsession with lists and found language. These avant-garde resources collide rough and raw: without quite synthesizing, they coexist as a delicious mess of possibility."-- found here

Trial Balloons

$6.00Price
    • Size: A5, 36pp, June 2012
    • Reprinted September 2015
    • ISBN: 979-10-90394-36-0