KFB | REVIEW
AN ABSENCE SO GREAT AND SPONTANEOUS IT IS EVIDENCE OF LIGHT ANNE GORRICK
The Operating System, 2018
Raking knife|fork|book’s shelves for some experimental poetry I came across this little gem by Brooklyn’s The Operating System. I knew the moment I read the title, An Absence So Great and Spontaneous It Is Evidence of Light, it was a book I needed to take home.
Presenting friends with certain poems in “an Absence” without providing any context, they struggle to understand impenetrable words such as “brineshrimpdirect” or “Shantybisque.” I then like to share how every poem has been constructed.
The technological advances of the past couple decades have had a profound impact on how we interact with the world around us, and therefore how we consume and produce art. Search engines have come a long way since their humble beginnings. Google is now able to absorb the zeitgeist’s most discrete needs and reflect it back at us as eerily accurate predictions. These predictions, though computer generated and algorithmic, have been based on what the global soul has whispered into the search engine’s ears. In “An absence,” the poet ANNE GORRICK aims to synthesize these whispers as a poetic document.
“use this poem to generate random events like
Throwing up, falling asleep, losing weight
Stop breathing, you are a fortune cookie cliché”
Each poem in the book corresponds to a source poem that has been sifted through search engines and drop-down suggestion; some edited and some left whole. In the processual note of the book, Gorrick explains how the poetic “I” dissolves in the algorithmic desires of the zeitgeist, therefore expanding the poetic possibilities.
This book is belongs to the OS’s “PRINT / DOCUMENT” Imprint, which through publishing bold works such as “An Absence”, aims to showcase the power of the page in the age of digital media. As Gorrick points out in an interview with the publisher, “The electronic zeitgeist changes constantly, like a river. I’m riveted by the temporality of this unrepeatable experiment”; hence This book is a document, a piece of evidence to capture the electronic zeitgeist at the time of the experiment, perhaps one that can be studied in the years to come in to further develop our understanding of the time it was written.
“an unfinished husband, you are an oasis in collapse
Islands strung like chapter summaries, an idle stroll
Sometimes her flesh lived in the fun lane
The forbidden fortunes in western wear
You have been closed
You were selected but not displayed
You became the formalist portal of god
You contained validation errors”
Gorrick hopes for this book to be a big middle finger to capitalism, which she believes has left poetry alone. On the subject of capitalism and poetry she states: “its about as contrarian as you can get right now to spend time on something that has essentially no efficient return, very little monetary transactionality.” But don’t let her anti-capitalist discourse dissuade you from buying her book.
“this poem might be a transient madness toward advanced mathematics
This poem might be a transfer in heat between particles of a substance”
Gorrick mentions how she enjoys the materiality of paper, since it “contains light” and how the very title of the book can be a great description for both her mother and the internet.
“In this grid of recycled words and light
Time machine, the clear button, the web to draw in crowds”
This book is a mirror frozen in time; a look at the global soul through electronic inquiries, a document to which we’re all witnesses, so great and spontaneous it is evidence of light.
“Is this poem an event that decreases the behaviour that precedes it?
Event mining, the mimic octopus
This sentence is camouflaged in adaptation
Presocial and post-colonial, mockery and hybridity
Darkness symbolled in lyric, her sadness splitscreen
Splice comma splice, sunlight in miniature
Splintered adjective, splintered light, splintered angel”
KHASHAYAR MOHAMMADI IS AN IRANIAN-BORN WRITER/TRANSLATOR BASED IN TORONTO, CURRENTLY AN EDITOR AT INSPIRITUS PRESS. THEIR MOST RECENT PUBLICATION IS MOE’S SKIN (ZED PRESS, 2018). DEAR KESTREL IS BEING PUBLISHED BY KNIFE | FORK | BOOK SPRING 2019.