Her gesture is fully consonant with those artistic avant-gardes that used mass-produced material to downgrade aesthetic hierarchies. A readymade downgrades those hierarchies that had elevated the Fine Arts above craftsmanship; then craftsmanship above mass production; or the artist and artisan above anonymously manufactured objects. The point of using a found, replaceable and disposable calendar, is to shift attention away from the artist as pyschological subject. Lorine Niedecker broke away from poetry as a display of affects, 9 and from the Art object identified with authorship, original self-expression and interiority.
They used to encourage the reader in need of the sun of faith on the road of life. To fill the demand of the new market, a new commodity was devised: Greenberg , Essay I She potentially extended art to all that usually stands outside art, to non-art. She claimed for an ordinary calendar the kind of serious attention reserved for art. Seen from this art history perspective, Lorine Niedecker transformed a found source into a a poetic resource.
She went beyond the opposition of Art as artistic tradition to Non-Art the ordinary other of art.
She introduced the third possibility of Anti-Art which refuses the separation of art from ordinary objects William Seitz. They should be associated with contemporary art, since these operations go well beyond the Modernist search for an artistic object adequate to its medium.
When Lorine Niedecker erased kitsch poems, she also erased habits of poetry printing—the miniature with a rubricated letter; Latin-looking font harking back to medieval illuminated Books of Hours. She erased graphic habits and chose her own handwriting or penmanship over the typewriter. This is all the more striking as typewriting is considered to be the signature act of modernist authoring.
Lorine Niedecker replaced the typewriter with her own handwriting, she reserved the cartouche as new hand-graphic surface. She replaced print with writing as hand-lettering. It might not be a palimpsest nor a "palimptext" Davidson , since prior traces are hardly visible.
I would term her gesture chirography, from kheirographia , "hand written testimony" OED. Writing with a running hand bears witness to the poet as writing subject. Chirography produces the poet who does not precede nor exceed writing. Chirography is precisely what is suppressed by mechanised print. Typography would de-materialise the poet as writing subject and re-materialise her as print allographic other.
It might not be a palimpsest nor a "palimptext" Davidson , since prior traces are hardly visible. How do editorial decisions impact interpretation? This explains why we need to compare the various images of the same poems: It is carried out on paper and in life. Chirography produces the poet who does not precede nor exceed writing.
The manuscript preserves a form of her presence which implicitly becomes a resistance to the printed medium. It strikingly operates on the page, and we now need to look at its images closely. Both originals and images affect the reception and understanding of the poems because text and image interoperate at the material levels of hand-writing, typography and photography. Hand-writing connects image as trope and image as icon.
Sense-making or interpretation results from this combined action of seeing and reading. Typography makes language visible. It is the industrial other of hand-writing: It gives the text its textual condition McGann. But typography is also the concrete image of a text. We see and read manufactured typography in the circular frame of dates and months of the Sunlit Road calendar appropriated by Lorine Niedecker in They are later additions: It is far from an infra-ordinary or endotic action.
Subtitling signals a photographic threshold.
Each book produces its specific image of the poems, even though the photograph —literally a photo graphein , a writing on light—is a photographic reproduction that is indexically related to the original. However, if one considers reading a phenomenal event to be grasped in its material condition, then one realises how Sulfur photographs and Collected Works photographs shape our interpretation of poems differently.
It is not a question of authenticity. Photographs make us see the poems as an allographic artwork that exists in the infinite number of its reproductions by Sulfur or the University of California Press, while Lorine Niedecker made the poems as an autographic artwork, as a hand-written manuscript, a unique object. Its photographic reproductions do not have the value of the original. But the validity of this socio-economic fact screens her interest in the making process and her reflective control of the object-book. It further screens the way the object-book comes across to the reader as a series of photographic images of an original.
Watch how Sulfur Fig. It is a stanza. The calendar frame is visible. The title page is longer that the first poem-page. It becomes the title page. All pages have the same size. Most importantly, any traces of the ribbon and calendar frame are gone Fig. The title is no longer a tempestuous, hand-written stanza but looks like a formal, modernist one-line haiku. All the photographs further crop out the calendar top binding and punch marks.
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Combined with the printing norm introduced by the subtitles, the photographs normalize the poems. They undo the experiment in book-making. However, these editorial decisions displaced the autographic identity of the poems by visually reinstating their allographic print condition. In other words, subtitles and hand-written poems make conflicting statements about the material, allographic-vs-autographic status of the lines of verse. The same conflicting statement surfaces in page numbers.
They were pointless in the autographic calendar, since dates were an organic page order. Here, one should note that Jenny Penberthy edited both versions of the poems.
Why should they matter? Poetry is language that calls attention to itself, that takes its own textual activities as its ground subject. That means, necessarily, that poetical texts—[…]-turn readers back upon themselves, make them attentive to what they are doing when they read.
They both affect our reading. It is a deliberate gesture that probes book-making as an artisan craft in an age of commodified culture and manufactured mass production.
This is what gets to be overlooked when the calendar frame is cropped out. This explains why we need to compare the various images of the same poems: Overlooking editorial decisions or printing decisions means overlooking their role in meaning construction. They are not channels of transmission, they are particular forms of transmissive interaction. The photograph stands for the material original.
Rosalind Krauss famously argued in The Originality of the Avant-garde and Other Modernist Myths that "[the photograph] is a kind of deposit of the real itself" Krauss Her contribution to art history is of interest as she showed how photographic indexicality ruins the modernist notion of medium-specific art. In other words, because a photograph is perceived as contiguous to reality, its ontological relation to reality is not entirely compatible with the modernist ideal of autonomy, self-referentiality or medium-specific art.
Not only was Lorine Niedecker aware "of poetry as a system of material signifiers " McGann , 93 but she paid "the closest attention to the semiotic potential which lay in the physical aspects of the book and text production" McGann , Like so many of his contemporaries, Pound as a writer repeatedly imagines the page and the book the way a painter or a book designer would imagine it.
The conclusion I draw is that we need to factor in the way image and text interact in the poems at various levels: They affect the way poetic language is used as symbolic exchange of saying, seeing and showing. Their edge-to-edge interaction only comes to the fore if we pay attention to the ontological status of poems as manuscript.
It is unseen or overlooked in normalised print editions. It is this resistance I call the reserve of poetry. Reserve as gendered restraint has often been tied to women poets like Emily Dickinson or Elizabeth Bishop. It is an area "kept free from an applied colour," "which remains the original colour of the material" OED.
It is the color of its material. It is in that reserve that the handwritten verse was placed Fig. She erased the original calendar image and line of verse and pasted over a blank reserve she only partially filled in. In poetry, reserve is the other name for unreadability. Of course, looking at this line of verse means seeing the legible signs from the Latin legere which are graphic and visual - the eyes can make out what is written or printed.
But these signs do not easily lead to meaning, they are unreadable from the Saxon root read in the sense that they block the transparency of writing leading to meaning beyond graphic shapes. The poem is made to resist meaning by keeping it out of reach and by keeping it in reserve for other readings.
The potentiality of poetry—as opposed to its power—lies in its ability to mobilize unknown meanings held in reserve until the poems are read and seen differently. They may re- serve as Lorine Niedecker also "dwells in Possibility. They point to a deliberate choice which limits the reading contract between readers and poet. The portmanteau word resignment baffles the reader.
It connects the resignation of voice to an assignment which marks out voice by a sign, and a consignment which seals voice with a sign.
If we substitute for one question, "what does this poem mean? It need not be only construed as a temporary Surrealist excess for a maker of otherwise condensed poetry. It is not an obstacle but the defining trait of poetry as artifice. Artifice gives readers the experience of an "estrangement," "a making strange" which is a prerequisite to what Lyn Hejinian calls the reflexive "experience of experiencing" inherent to poetry Hejinian Were poetry to retain its obduracy, its ability to block understanding, then it would not be degraded into expository commonplace.
It would retain its disruptive potential, its tempestuous reserve and its p -reserve, if I but add a p to reserve. She separates words with blanks and breaks in lineation while connecting them in a meaningful sentence. Poetry both separates and joins coeval semantic energies which lead to partial, limited or reserved understanding:. The line of verse that does not yield immediate meaning becomes a buried verbal remnant waiting for future engagement.
The literalness of facts is an ethical choice often explained in terms of Objectivist Sincerity. It targets image-making, the ability of language to conjure up images and of poetry to create the illusion of reality through hypotyposis. Indeed, Lorine Niedecker blocks the image as readable analogy. Her calendar is not a metaphor of time but a literal object, an instantiation of time. A physical gesture of writing or inscription brackets the poems from beginning to end: Poetry is this gift of turbulence and deep silence 27 which foils the attempt at the visual coherence of Symbolist, Imagist or Poundian poetics.
Her tempest was her literal temp " Test of Poetry " in So should the initial, liminal metaphor of wading: Life is a path that breaks backward to its source, to the flush left of a text aligned along a margin. Like hand-writing, lineation is amphibious. It is carried out on paper and in life. Poetry here becomes "meaning not revealed but made" Brogan and Preminger When Lorine Niedecker preserved the gift as manuscript and sent it to Louis Zukofsky instead of transforming it into print through publication, she preserved poetry as living material.
When she appropriated a calendar, she preserved poetry in its objecthood, in its thisness. It operates on the page and on time as matter and material. Le Livre de poche classique. Part of the "Collection Pluriel. Choix de pages par Pascal Pia et Maurice Guyot. Mercure de France , Part of the collection "Le Grand livre du mois. France loisirs , EL 8- Y- Chronologie et bibliographie par Gilbert Sigaux.
Illustrations originales et frontispice par Christian Broutin. Cercle du bibliophile , . Illustrations originales et frontispice par Paul Nussbaumer. Illustrations… par Pietro Sarto. Illustrations… par Jean Gourmelin. Contes du jour et de la nuit. Illustrations… par Christian Broutin. Illustrations… par Richard Reimann. Le Rosier de madame Husson. Fort comme la mort. Illustrations… par Annamaria Cesarini Sforza. Illustrations… par Lise Luce Baudin. Illustrations… par Hans Schweizer. Illustrations… par Francine Simonin. Illustrations… par Angelina Prisco.
Illustrations par Sylvie Dausset. To confuse matters, the series concludes with a 3-vol. The same publisher reprinted the entire work in University of Exeter La Nuova Italia , Part of the series "Ecrivains de toujours. Editions du Seuil , Translated by Patrick Gregory. Evergreen Profile Book no. Collection de l'Ecritoire, Edgar du Perron, c. Avec une postface par J. Text in French and Dutch. One of the "Dossiers des Lettres nouvelles. La Chronique des Dames contemporaines. Eighty-eight in-text illustrations attributed to Metivet. Maurice Duflou, ] 4to.
Sous les Tonnelles [Rene Bonnel, ]. Marchand in his "Essai de bibliographie" in Pascal Pia Paris: The Halcyon press , RES M- Z- Marcelle La Pompe i. Pascal Pia ] Paris: Limited to numbered and lettered copies. Doubtful or Supposititious Works.