Wednesday, May 23, 2018

URSP Student Jordan Keller-Martinez Writes a Series of Poems That will be Made into a Handmade Artists Book

My project involves writing a series of poems that will then be made into a handmade artists book. I am choosing to engage with my experiences while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, which I have been reluctant to write about in the past. I am hopeful that this project is the start of a larger body of writing that I can continue as I join Washington University’s MFA program next Fall.

Much of this project’s writing process has been informed through reading. I have most thoroughly studied Susan Howe and Mina Loy, who both radically employ different elements of language to help establish content. They have been integral in focusing my attention on form and structure. I have been mostly considering how association can be worked in different ways, which I am involving mostly through repetition and signification. I am also inspired by C. G. Jung’s Studies in Word Association and other studies in linguistics.  I am especially interested in Saussure’s notion that language is a system of arbitrary signs attached to a sound-image and concept.

In my writing thus far, I have put significant work into developing the form, such as voice, structure, and motifs. I am working a lot to push the image, which comes heavily inspired by Surrealist poetry. The surrealist process of abstraction often illuminates the signifier, sound-image, and concept by distancing each component from the others. This notion of abstraction is evident in Dada conceptual music, Magritte’s word-image concept, and Marcel Duchamp’s experiments with absurd language, such as his 1915 poem “The” which detaches concept from the text signifier. I believe these formal abstraction techniques have been suitable in representing the experiences of being deployed.

I have gone through several mock drafts in the development of the artists book, which I think I have come to a concluding form. The book plays to the form of the poetry, as there will be multiple reading itineraries. I am excited to start finalized the text of the book so I can begin construction.