Thursday, September 29, 2005



What is a blurb and what is a poem? We casually regard them as separate, and yet... Can a blurb become part of a poem's body? Not merely as a prosthesis or catheter: blurbs, as a rule, have had these functions... No, rather, can a poem be like the head [human], for example, and a blurb like the hindquarters [equine]? Or, for more interest, reverse the figure: blurb as head, etc. This is not a new question, merely one that has been largely forgotten, even though it appears (albeit of possible apocryphal source) in the Poetics. As Aristotle asks, "Why is the book one thing and its commentary another? What is the nature of this 'space between' and where does it exist? Does it have color, odor, sound, taste, texture? Is this space real, or does it arise like a mirage from the sun-baked road of a particular set of literary relations of production?" In other words, what IS paratext, truly? If it marks a limit, then what can be said to be "between" this limit and the literary "essence" in whose gravity the blurb seems to hover? For that matter, and perhaps even more crucially, what can be said to be *outside* the limit of the blurb? Are there readers outside the blurb, or is there nothing outside the blurb? Or, to perhaps make a synthesis of these two poles, are readers always *inside* the blurb? And being so, if so, are they kind of like the hindquarters of the Author? In this book, Eileen Tabios, in her wine cellar, seems to be asking these questions and more. She puts the cart before the horse, and look, the contraption, against all common sense, begins to rise.


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Anny Ballardini said...

To keep your gloved hand on your lips not to interrupt your serious reading because of an intrinsic turmoil triggered by a suppressed need (/to laugh/) _ Kent Johnson is Kent Johnson, this I state _ this very same rainy violet night of an indinstict fall,

Yours faithfully,

non perishible Marchioness



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