April 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
– Christian Bök
Both of these paragraph-stanzas are taken from Eunoia, Bök’s univocalic magnum opus. Each chapter (there are five) uses one vowel, exhausts the lexicon of eligible words, and must contain, as described by Bök, “a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau, and a nautical voyage” among several other things.
Eunoia‘s musicality and shifting rhythms are apparent. Its allusions and in-jokes reward re-reading. Beyond these things, though, one notices that each chapter — each vowel — has a distinct texture. “Chapter A” is the result of a radical fatwa against paragraphs that use vowels other than A, and as it chronicles Hassan’s ambulatory adventures, the reader realizes that A is a no-nonsense sort of letter most suitable for war stories and acts of ultra-violence. Even the above selections, with all of their food and music talk, approach their subjects in a reserved manner. E, I, O, and U would later unleash the loopiness.
“A gangland fad that attacks what Brahms and Franck call art” must be Bök’s preemptive jab at myopic critics who dismiss the kind of experimentation contained in Eunoia.
April 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E’s knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H’s grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L’s head,
And M takes mustard, N drives into town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z,
Who happens just now to remember A
Peeling an apple somewhere far away.
– Howard Nemerov
Unlike bpNichol’s alphabet, this one goes full-circle. A’s innocuous start turns into O and P’s O.P.P. and X Y Z’s geometry of fibs before the latter letter reflects back on A’s innocence. Though more street than Sesame, the alliteration sprinkled throughout (M’s mustard, F’s cawff) lends a playful touch.