Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
New Ideas
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments (2) Posted 05.19.09 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Christian Bök

"W, a poem"


for Georges Perec 




To the V that stands for viewing what is all 
around us, eyes turned outward, toward the
conscious surface of things, surrealism has
relentlessly opposed W.André Breton

A meaningless distinction on W — leads to 
automatic disqualification.Georges Perec


It is the V you double, not the U, as if to use 
two valleys in a valise is to savvy the vacuum 
of a vowel at a powwow in between sawteeth.


It is to ask the painter of a watercolour hue:
'why owe you twice what a sheep is or a tree,
if the fee you double has to hew you a puzzle?'

An enigma, like a game in E, its jigsaw zigzag
never fits the excess void left behind by X,
the exit on the way from 'why' to what is said.

If you glean an anagram from each angle, do you
dabble with your double view of what you hate:
a swastika that awaits your Olympiad of riddles?

Is this letter a residuum of what troubles you?
If you slice it down the middle, does it not
hereafter indicate a twofold victory over life?

If it maps the rise and fall of fortune, like a yo-yo,
why oh, why oh, must you find four palm trees
in a park, if not to make of them your symbol?

It is the name for an X whose V does not view
the surface of a lake but the mirror on a wall,
where U and you become a tautonym, a continuum.

 

"W" is from Eunoia by Christian Bök republished on Design Observer through kind permission of the author and Coach House Press.



Share This Story

RELATED POSTS


On My Shelf: A Classic by Berger and Mohr


The Age of Wire and String Rebooted


Jane Austen, Architect?


Pierre Faucheux and Le Livre de Poche


Pierre Faucheux and Le Livre de Poche



RSS Subscribe to Comment Feed

Comments (2)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT >>

I've always enjoyed Christian Bök's poetry. I used to write experimental poetry a few years ago, although I've been sticking with a more traditional style of late.

Here's one inspired by Mr. Bök and the letter Q.

Cheers!
Able Parris
05.22.09 at 04:59

Strangely inspiring. Most of the poetry I've stumbled across lately has been excessively romantic to the point of saccharinity. I love when poetic language serves to deconstruct itself, rather than spew banalities. It creates an ambiguity that can only be resolved by the readers' own creative inclinations.
Andrew Croce
05.28.09 at 01:21



LOG IN TO POST A COMMENT
Don't have an account? Create an account. Forgot your password? Click here.

Email


Password




|
Share This Story



Christian Bök is the author of Crystallography (1994), and Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science (2001). His book Eunoia won the 2002 Griffin Poetry Prize and is the best-selling Canadian poetry book of all time. He teaches at the University of Calgary.
More >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS