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TILT HEAD WHILE READING! Words by Paul Wright


VI. 229. Our talk gets its meaning from the rest of our proceedings.


This (VI / 229 / Our talk…) is the title—or materialising more within this context—an extract from a collection of performance poetry indexed underWriting the Silences, published by the University of California Press.*


The book pulls together a personal


archive of work by writer/broadcaster/filmmaker/renaissance poet Richard O. Moore.†


Reading the pieces you see Moore’s use of poetic pause intentionally translated to the printed page as voids.


These voids can be identified as a part of language called ritualistic markers––setting the rhythm and modulation of the reading process. Heard initially as verbal pauses, form-for-form, this everyday act of conversational tone is translated to the printed page as


pause silence revealed as visual space F–R–––A–––G–M–E–N–T–S.


April 22, 1947, Moore became ‘the first reader’–––––of the first “group readings”––––– at the First Festival of Modern Poetry–––––situation: art gallery–––––location: San Francisco state’s Bay Area.¶ now onto a new train of thought important were utterances leading conversation readings of the time


So and the accompanying that this resonates today in—what is now a trans-mutated


form––seen on a printed page as visual writing. Taking the criteria set out by poet Brenda Hillman / Inventory—A / determinates of visual writing are the voids or additions of ritualistic markers within a text. For readers who prefer a printed text presented in prose form this fragmentation may look–––––seemingly strange and ‘out- of-place’ and as such–––a


misalignment of printed text and determined a mistake.


As a device though, this textured absence or indelible over-use of ritualistic markers are a connective tissue around words—becoming their elastic fibre. Used sparingly or even glaringly–––it doesn’t matter which–––the use of ritualistic markers engage a reader inviting them to tumble around a text for a while. After which—once accustomed to patterns of misinterpretation–––seemingly grammatical errors become deliberate modulations informing how to approach reading a text.


In practice these ritualistic markers are listed here as determinates––––Inventory—A: white space, two columns, “cross over”, large gaps—overall, experiments in fragmentation


As lexical load increases, a reader gets positioned as semantic-structuralist, scrabbling about one long clause in search of context. The apparatus determining lexical density in a text—verbal or printed—is (again) listed below:


Inventory—B ‘ ’ , : ; . – … “ ” ! (—pathway delimiters reducing lexical density—/ which placed ritualistically, in practice act as apparatus separating


language clauses, and providing a scaffold allowing a reader to buoyantly extend outwards from one clause to the next, then to the next and next, then next, and the next


idea, and the next…


String–example 1: Stringfiveteranciderideafencerebrumblendivestablishmentertaintegerund…


String –example 2: Stringfi(ve)te(ran)(ci(d)er)(I(de)a)(fen(cer)eb(rum)(bl(e)n(d)ive)st)…


gaps


The static-kinetic nature of this mode of writing is a step back from visual writing. Whereas visual writing relies on narrative aspects associated with novelistic prose writing, visible writing by contrast is accepting of fewer rules and deliberately engages the reader with a noticeable increased level of linguistic difficulty. This is referred to as being the lexical density of the piece. Illustrated in one of Kostelanetz’s playful strings the first extended line of letters or morphemes requires at least a 40º tilt of the head to event begin comprehending. The second illustration uses recognisable pathway delimiters encouraging a more straight-headed take on the string.


and





–––––––When applied to a text the features of Inventory—A replace the set of ritualistic pathway delimiters (Inventory—B).


These silent utterances in text become a


text’s punctuation—stripping away the layer of mechanics required for a reader to navigate a text with ease. The converse of this is seen expressed on the pages of a conventional novelistic prose. The impact of removing this scaffold from the grasp of a reader forces their attention away from the storytelling, positioning them for attack––––––––––––to be able to penetrate the lexical density of a piece–––––––to avoid total d—i—s––––o—r––––i—e—n—t––––a—t—i—o—n. In this ambiguous situation a reader sets the tone of pause and silence through drawing on familiar and learned standards. In terms of ritualistic lexical pathway delimiters these standards are seen in printed matter as ‘ ’ , : ; . – … “ ” ! ––––– Inventory—B.


Texts seen as shrugging off the value of ‘ ’ , : ; . – … “ ” ! (traditional lexical pathway delimiters) defer the interpretation of a text to the endurance of a reader and their will to stick with a piece. The action of reading then becomes acted out more physical–––– inducing a required tilt of one’s head. With tilted head, sentences––at best seem to merge and––at worst, their meanings overlap infinitely. This latter consequence is pre- figured in the one-sentence lengths created by ‘visible writer’ Richard Kostelanetz.


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