Alexander Dickow

He who sees and listens

A review of Mark Weiss, 'A Suite of Dances'

Detail from ‘Mezzetin’ by Antoine Watteau, ca. 1718–20, pictured also on the cover of ‘A Suite of Dances.’

Suite of Dances is composed of a series of apparently disconnected statements in verse. A slight detour can help highlight the central formal questions at work in this book. In Wittgenstein’s Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary, Marjorie Perloff describes what Herman Rapaport called “negative serialization”:

Partial objects

Jennifer K. Dick's 'Lilith: A Novel in Fragments'

Author photo (left) courtesy of Jennifer K. Dick.

Artifact, from the Latin arte, “by or using art,” + factum, “something made.” But an “artefact,” in French, is also something accidental, a residual effect created by human beings that distorts observation of a natural phenomenon, like footsteps distorting a seismic measurement. Jennifer K. Dick’s Lilith revolves in part around this ambiguous status between the accidental and the deliberately formed: the reader encounters a series of enigmatic textual objects that seem alternately laden with meaning.

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