Friday, October 04, 2013

Goodwill Finding

My nine year old son is a book-hound like his old man, so we often spend weekends perusing used book stores and thrift stores. This week at Goodwill I picked up several books that I felt I needed for my collection, but that I doubt I'll ever read cover to cover (ex. the Norton collected edition of Shelley's poetry and prose, a nice Faber and Faber edition of The Alexandria Quartet). Among the stacks of Life of Pi and The Sentimentalists, however, I was surprised to find a Green Integer book. Stephen Ratcliffe's SOUND/ (system) is relatively obscure, even among GI books, so it was really quite miraculous to find this collection of poetry north of St. Clair in Toronto.

More surprising, when I flipped through it I found that someone had begun to use the book as the basis for a treated text, with the first 30 or so pages covered with ink sketchings and quotations in a fashion somewhat similar to A Humument. The creator seemed to know what s/he was doing and was informed of the tradition, as the treated section contains quotes from Wallace Stevens and Hopkins's "Pied Beauty". There was also the irony that Ratcliffe's text is itself a found collection, based on the letters of Henry James. Judging by the confidence of the drawing, I'd hazard that the creator is more a visual artist who is playing with textuality, rather than a poet branching out into visual poetics, but I could be wrong.

Any Toronto-based poet or artist willing to own up to this cool creation?

[Scans by the wonderful Sharon Harris]

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