Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? The word 'eunoia,' which literally means 'beautiful thinking,' is the shortest word in English that contains all five vowels. Directly inspired by the Oulipo l'Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle , a French writers' group interested in experimenting with different forms of literary constraint, Eunoia is a five-chapter book in which each chapter is a univocal lipogram the first chapter has A as its only vowel, the second chapter E, etc. Each vowel takes on a distinct personality: the I is egotistical and romantic, the O jocular and obscene, the E elegiac and epic including a retelling of the Iliad! Stunning in its implications and masterful in its execution, Eunoia has developed a cult following, garnering extensive praise and winning the Griffin Poetry Prize.
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Brian Kim Stefans. Researcher J. Researchers C. Researcher H. Researchers at M. The first two projects on this list, both in genetics, might appear to be concerned with some aspect of military technology—spy messages in the first instance, infrastructural subterfuge in the second. The "fertility bra" resonates with the television bra of Nam Jun Paik and the free love vibe of the sixties; the device "sensitive to hugs" sounds like some advancement on Sony's Aibo dog; and the artificial intelligence project that translates texts into visual images—imagine a Pollackesque mural that represents the informational strands of Joyce's Ulysses or The Whole Earth Catalog.
But only the first two projects are being pursued by "artists"; the last three are the work of "scientists. A movement seems afoot. McCaffery introduced Derrida to the North American avant-garde. He's created entire books out of Lego blocks—one recently sold in New York for several thousand dollars—and invented a language for a race of Star Trek spin-off creatures called the "Taelons.
Crystallography also has a scientific slant, drawing beautiful analogies between the structure of language and that of crystalline molecules like amethyst and diamond. It even has a section called "A Hagiography of Snow," in which the poet scolds scientists for trying to name the stars since—like naming snowflakes—it is a practice that "stems in part from the unfulfillable desire to perform a mathematical paradox: the attribution of cardinality to every element in an infinite set.
Faced with the limitless options posed by this aesthetic model, the writer required a sturdy plan, and he executes it most successfully in "Eunoia," which comprises the first five "chapters" of the book that shares its name. Written over seven years—the same period of time it took Joyce to write Ulysses—"Eunoia" is a "universal lipogram," in that it restricts itself to the use of only one vowel per chapter: the "a" chapter can only use words like "banana" and "and," the "u" chapter only words like "pluck" and "but.
As he writes in his afterword, there are other "subsidiary rules":. All chapters must allude to the art of writing. All chapters must describe a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau and a nautical voyage. All sentences must accent internal rhyme through the use of syntactical parallelism. The text must minimize repetition of substantive vocabulary so that, ideally, no word appears more than once. The letter Y is suppressed. He writes that "the text makes a Sisyphean spectacle of its labor, willfully crippling its language in order to show that, even under such improbable conditions of duress, language can still express an uncanny, if not sublime, thought.
Writing is inhibiting. Sighing, I sit, scribbling in ink this pidgin script. I sing with nihilistic witticism, disciplining signs with trifling gimmicks—impish hijinks which highlight stick sigils.
Isn't it glib? Isn't it chic? I fit childish insights within rigid limits, writing schtick which might instill priggish misgivings in critics blind with hindsight. I dismiss nit-picking criticism which flirts with philistinism. I bitch; I kibitz—griping while criticizing dimwits, sniping while indicting nitwits, dismissing simplistic thinking, in which philippic wit is still illicit.
The reader discovers one thing quickly: that it strains the eye to read so much type that hugs against itself, as the "stick sigil" of the letter "i" compresses the text block, making it possible to pack more words on each line. One of the pleasures of this poem is how it approaches the aforementioned themes from the angle of each letter, such that in "Chapter A" we see the art of writing—absent the "i"—linked to a series of esteemed predecessors:.
Awkward grammar appalls a craftsman. A Dada bard as daft as Tzara damns stagnant art and scrawls an alpha a slapdash arc and a backwardzag that mars all stanzas and jams all ballads what a scandal.
A madcap vandal crafts a small black ankh—a handstamp that can stamp a wax pad and at last plant a mar that sparks an ars magna an abstract art that charts a phrasal anagram.
A pagan skald chants a dark saga a Mahabharata , as a papal cabal blackballs all annals and tracts, all dramas and psalms: Kant and Kafka, Marx and Marat. A law as harsh as a fatwa bans all paragraphs that lack an A as a standard hallmark.
The same "subject matter" is approached here from several different perspectives. In the "i" chapter, he is the smug and sarcastic mad scientist while in the "a" chapter, absent the "i" but having access to a welter of nouns, he adopts an omniscient, allusive approach, cleverly dismissing both Kant for his transcendental ego and Marx for his materialist dialectics in the process. Every sentence is complete and they all tell a story or explain an idea. One of the more clever sections is the retelling of the Iliad from the perspective of Helen:.
Bells knell when the keep gets levelled; then Greek rebels cheer when Helen enters her Greek temple the steepled glebe where jewelled steeples shelter her ephebes ; there, the reverends bless the freed empress. The Greek sects revere her gentleness, her tenderness; hence, these prefects help her seek self-betterment.
The zen seers tell her: 'greed begets greed—never be self-centred: be selfless'. She defers. Her deference seems reverent.
The empress kneels, then keens her vespers. The pewter censer spews the sweetest peppered scent. She feels refreshed; she feels perfected. The cultural anachronism of the "zen seer"—one is reminded of Pound's "frigidaire patent" in the "Homage to Sextus Propertius"—contributes to an engaging portrait of a woman who has a peculiarly contemporary brand of self-motivation.
There is something significant in the switch to a female perspective in this seven-year effort that resulted in a few thousand words. It is as if the chapter of Modernist epics—many of which devolved into sets of internal codes—were being closed.
But it is "Eunoia," with its readability and extreme method, that poses the largest questions for poetry, both of the "avant-garde" and more lyrical variety. Namely, why poets haven't responded to the development of the "information aesthetics" that has occupied much of the art world? Does this research-oriented stance bridge the gap between the "avant-garde" and the "mainstream"? It is also one of our most passionate, inventive, and counter-intuitive responses to the cultural shifts that digital technology have set in motion.
He has produced a work that occupies a freakish yet masterful position in the development of twenty-first century literature. Confronting the many challenges of COVID—from the medical to the economic, the social to the political—demands all the moral and deliberative clarity we can muster. It also means that we rely on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, pledge your contribution to keep it free for everyone by making a tax-deductible donation.
Farah Jasmine Griffin. Until recent decades, Dickinson was most often Make a tax-deductible donation today. Printing Note: For best printing results try turning on any options your web browser's print dialog makes available for printing backgrounds and background graphics. Confronting the challenges of this moment demands all the moral and deliberative clarity we can muster. A Political and Literary Forum.
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Each chapter is written using words limited to a single vowel , producing sentences like: "Hassan can, at a handclap, call a vassal at hand and ask that all staff plan a bacchanal". The title eunoia , which literally means good thinking , is a medical term for the state of normal mental health , and is also the shortest word in the English language which contains all five vowels. The cover features a chromatic representation of Arthur Rimbaud 's sonnet "Voyelles" Vowels in which each vowel is assigned a particular colour and consonants appear grey. In each of these chapters, the only vowel used is the same one as the title.