Saturday, January 22, 2011

Peculiar publishing

To quote Wikipedia, the work Calligrammes by Guillaume Apollinaire is more than just poetry, where the size of the letters as well as "...the spatial arrangement of the words on a page plays just as much of a role in the meaning of each poem as the words themselves."  
(For my part, I always wanted to write a poem where the spacing between words would be cleverly combined to form a particular shape seen from a distance, giving further meaning to the poem.)

The Swedish poet Lennart Hellsing, on the other hand, preferred to let the object on which his poetry was published to give the flow. Back in 1964, it was not possible to let his two books with poems to be printed on "cigarettes" of plastic, but these days you can even order them in an ordinary Swedish book shop a kit to puzzle the cigarette package together all by yourself. It really looks like one; each poem is glued to a "cigarette", and the book itself could be easily mistaken for a Marlboro box, except it says Strandbok (beachbook) and the warning label on the second box goes "Even a small dose of poetry can cause euphoria".
Yesterday's headlines: "Now provided with warning labels, reading turns out to be somewhat dangerous..."

Then we have George Pérec's novel La Disparition, which misses the letter "e" throughout the entire work, while another book of his, Les Revenentes, only contains the vowel e... And did you know that Goethe's first text was published on the back side of a wine bottle?

A friend wondered, is this the peculiar way the author uses to express himself? Well, not really...