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Ebook Overview: ‘I entered with out phrases,’ Jody Gladding | books | Seven Days

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  • Courtesy of David Hinton
  • Jody Gladding, creator of I entered with out phrases

What should you may learn a poem 12 other ways? And never within the sense of unraveling all of the cryptic allusions in TS Eliot’s The Wasteland. Quite than providing a story to be learn from left to proper, prime to backside, what if the web page had been a wide-open area the place the reader selected the order during which to learn the phrases?

Jody Gladding performs with this choose-your-own-path idea in her intriguing new assortment, I entered with out phrases. As a substitute of writing orderly stanzas aligned flush left, Gladding makes use of the web page like a plein air canvas, creating “constellations” of phrases, as she describes them in a observe at the start of the ebook.

To information the reader alongside the best way, she offers what she calls “by strains”—a sequence of phrases in daring to maintain us on monitor. These are additionally the poems’ titles, which seem solely within the desk of contents. Past that, the journey is fully as much as the reader.

Within the opening poem, for instance, the bolded phrases “the mom tongue licked me into being” jut sideways earlier than continuing diagonally down the web page. Round this by line, a bunch of surreal prospects come up. “I entered with out phrases / for purple aster / yellow middle star / deep summer season / the mom tongue / licked me into being / articulate” is one doable studying.

However the poem may simply as simply change into “Being yellow / I entered / into deep summer season / licked / tongue purple / with out phrases / aster for mom / articulate middle star.”

This idea works particularly properly when Gladding chooses by strains which have a playful chew. “I nonetheless consider at the hours of darkness work of idleness.” “The white flame sank providing solely the gesture.” “Why every part lovely hurts.” “Wind wrenches free her tongue from her.” The desk of contents itself makes a effective poem, 100 composed of items of what is to return.

Gladding, who lives in East Calais, has taught on the Vermont Faculty of High-quality Arts and served as a director of the writing program on the Vermont Studio Heart. Her first ebook of her, Stone Crop, gained the coveted 1992 Yale Collection of Youthful Poets competitors. She’s since acquired MacDowell and Wallace Stegner fellowships, a Whiting Award, a Frost Place residency, and different awards too quite a few to listing right here.

And people are simply the American honors. Gladding has additionally translated greater than 40 books from French, incomes a Heart Nationwide du Livre translation grant and a French-American Basis Translation Prize. Among the many works she’s translated into English are French scholar Michel Pastoureau’s Yellow: The Historical past of a Colour and novelist Jean Giono’s The Serpent of Stars.

As Gladding’s web site places it, “Her work explores the locations the place language and panorama converge” — and converge they do. I entered with out phrases begins in English and switches to French on the creator’s whim, together with her translations on the going through web page. Moreover being a refreshing flex, the French variations vastly multiply the poems’ potential meanings. Translators, in spite of everything, should select one phrase even when a number of synonyms exist, every with totally different shades of which means.

Watching the interpretation course of unfold one phrase at a time provides one other layer of enjoyment, and never only for these fluent in French. Remoted and spreading out on the web page, freed from the burdens of grammar, Gladding’s phrases could encourage readers to recall their highschool French.

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  • Copyright © 2022 By Princeton College Press And Reprinted With Permission
  • “to knock with light barbarism” from I entered with out phrases: Poems by Jody Gladding

If this mix of visible and bilingual experimentation appears avant-garde, Gladding’s earlier work was much more so. In her 2014 ebook Translations From Bark Beetle, explorations of panorama and language took a fairly literal type: She composed on pure objects and transcribed birdcalls. Denying any declare to authority, she “translated” the paths bugs make by wooden, treating the marks left behind as in the event that they had been texts written in an unknown alphabet.

In an essay for Poetry Worldwide after the discharge of her earlier assortment, the spiders my arms, Waterbury Heart author and artist Darren Higgins described Gladding’s bodily translations by saying, “[her words] slide proper off the sting. She wrote on icicles, egg shells, slanting chunks of slate, a poetry of objects and objects as poetry.”

I entered with out phrases, in contrast, is a sparser and sparer challenge. Gladding depends on brevity and ease to ask a number of meanings, however typically these minimalist texts do not precisely seize the reader’s consideration for themselves. The poem “paper white,” for instance, is simply eight phrases lengthy (“paper winter / stretches lengthy skinny stems / stars open”) and feels extra like a easy nature haiku than an exploration of the convergence of panorama and language.

These visible experiments can really feel repetitive or on the nostril. Within the poem “now silent turns into hear,” as an example, the letters within the phrase “rearranged” are — you guessed it — rearranged. Barely jumbled, they tackle the looks of a fridge magnet poem—a comparability that may be arduous to shake because the ebook goes on.

Nevertheless, readers with a style for experimental poetry shall be delighted. I entered with out phrases remembers lots of the modern actions of the twentieth century: the surrealists’ phrase video games, the French group Oulipo, concrete poetry, language poetry, the work of EE Cummings and Robert Lax — and the affect of close by Bread and Puppet Theater, which Gladding acknowledges on the finish of the ebook.

This type of experimentation appears to be coming again into vogue. Anthony Cody’s Borderland Apocrypha, for instance, is one other latest ebook that makes use of by strains, bilingual parts and visible results on the web page to create a number of meanings. Given that private narrative nonetheless tends to dominate up to date poetry, it is all the time thrilling to see one in every of Vermont’s literary luminaries strolling the experimental path, n’est-ce pas?


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