Oana Avasilichioaei

Folding Borders: Experimenting in the Canadian Laboratory

The savage of dessavage

Steve Savage, S. Savage, Dessavage,  approaches language biologically, fielding the morphology of its formstructures, the physiology of syntax, the anatomy of lexicon, the behaviour of its phonology, the origin and distribution of semantics. Language at the level of the syllable and letter is recomposed into many possible DNA structures, that may grow, move, behave unpredictably. At times, syllables are synthesized to create new beings of linguistic behaviour across the lexical barriers of French and English, or even the authorial personas of S. Savage and Dessavage:

“Aux à tête res seized and synchragon freed into this dreala. Recoud from a holverte de terre, I feel the kerméable. My blood dinaut hole the veson. Parror cet animage, our son heul scent foretold. Un ordre d’onk mule des corded. Morning attraivée du parfur seen through the fingem legal fills cagesoximité. Dense crow maçon du mineraain, their mouth catcoleil se dilue des fouths of bouche recouvals.” (S. Savage, from 2 x 2)

The bridge of transtranslation

“Transtranslation is an excavation of sorts: we brush away the layers of meaning deposited onto a text through time, to reveal the poem beneath the poem – that rift between rising and falling… groundlessness itself.” (Mark Goldstein) Engaging in what he calls transtranslation, Mark Goldstein bridges several methodologies, including homophonic and homolinguistic play, and lexical word-for-word translations, mapping the sound and sense of the languages with which he works. Through this deep engagement with another voice and with his own voices, Goldstein produces poems that are both translated and written, that are both the other’s breath and his own breath.

The experience around the experiments

In French, the word for experiment is expérience, and thus the idea of carrying out an experiment is closely linked with the idea of undergoing an experience. So one may wonder as to what kind of experiments are going on around poetry that help foster not only the poetry itself but also help others experience it. In Canada,  some of the more daring and current essays/essais in poetic publishing, poetic mentoring and poetic diffusion include BookThug and The Toronto New School of Writing, Le Quartanier in Montreal, No press in Calgary and Nomados Press in Vancouver. 

Run out of Toronto, BookThug is a restless thug! Poet and collaborator Jay MillAr began publishing chapbooks in 1992, under the name Boondoggle Books and eleven years later, transformed Boondoggle Books into BookThug, publishing (and at times re-issuing) tradebooks, chapbooks and other ephemera of poetry, fiction, essays and Danish literature in translation, with a vision to enrich and evolve the tradition and conversation of experimental literature.

Transposing 85

In speaking on some aspects of translation, Roman Jakobson wrote that “poetry by definition is untranslatable. Only creative transposition is possible: either intralingual transposition—from one poetic shape into another, or interlingual transposition—from one language into another, or finally intersemiotic transposition—from one system of signs into another.” The 85 project, by Claire Huot and Robert Majzels, engages in all three kinds of transposition (a placing across) as it investigates the reception of the Chinese language and culture into English through various poetic and multi-media platforms. The 85 project involves many layers of transference and is in constant movement: from Chinese texts to literal character-for-word translation; from these translations into 85 English letters and visual poems; from the visual poems to the reading of those poems by others or to multi-media enactments, to a website and even to furniture.

The ray of way

Ray Hsu is a rockstar who writes books. Or he is a poet who collaborates. Or he is a collaborator who performs. Or he is a performer who teaches. Or he is a teacher who rocks out online at thewayofray.com. Or on his YouTube channel.  Critical of the rising tension between “online” and “print”, Ray Hsu works with artists as collaborators, publishers as collaborators and venues as collaborators. To comment on his work I must collaborate with it. The following commentary has been composed entirely of fragments from Ray Hsu’s Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon, and as such can be read as an online performance of his print.

One sees oneself not as one is, but as others. Mischievous surfaces. Your documents please. One can only do as one does and yet we make do, go on, as if our troops are us. I am at home where I am missing. Problem is all this feels outdated. Books books books. On paper, everything equals out. I, for one, want bravely to be random. Strictly speaking, this may not seem like useful advice, but I think you should do whatever feels natural.