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Michael Leong reviews Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea

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Michael Leong reviews Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea

Michael Leong reviews Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea

To immediately grasp the innovative nature of Afton Wilky’s debut volume Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea and to begin to appreciate its exploration of language’s materialities and its playful stretching of the conventions of the codex form, one need only consider its front cover. Even on the outside, we begin, it seems, in medias res: in place of where one might expect bibliographic information — for example, the book’s title, the author’s name — one already finds a piece of the poetic text extrojected into the paratext or, from a different perspective, a visually compelling textual fragment that nicely doubles as cover art. This is a book that one would have no trouble judging by its cover as the cover is already the beginning (if one can even speak of a beginning) of the book. The strategy of making the work’s framing apparatus a part of the work itself — as if the aesthetics of the work were encroaching upon the threshold between art and non-art — was a familiar one to the modernists; we can think of T. S. Eliot’s curious notes to The Waste Land or Constantin Brancusi’s pedestals, which trouble the distinction between sculpture and base, or William Carlos Williams’ and Marianne Moore’s practice of making a poem’s title double as the poem’s first line…

Read the full review “The Collagist’s Hand: Afton Wilky’s ‘Textureechoes’” at Hyperallergic

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