by Tim Gaze and Jim Leftwich and Louise Tourney and Joe Maneri and Abdourahamane Diarra. 2003. 96 pages. Anabasis. Xtant, 1512Mountianside Ct. Charlottesville, VA 22903-9707.
Book Review by Michael Basinski
A form or branch of verbo-visual poetry, Asemic writing is an original progression within this genre. Thank the Gods (and Pixies) some poets are getting beyond the 1960s and into something other than simulations of Finlay or Cobbing, although, thank the Gods if these had a proto-generator it might be Cobbing. But, nevertheless, Asemia strikes out boldly into a form of writing that locates itself in primitive emotive states, pre-aural, pre-intellectual, when the sound of emotions took forms like these. Carefully rendered glyphs of proto or other writing the works ask the reader to fully engage them via what senses might be strongest in their particular reading field. They are not puzzles. Not riddles waiting to be solved but works that form a state of being that might be or should be the imaginative state. Like keyholes into the substructure of the spiritual life of letters and words enter and enjoy. Maneri writes a sequence of 24 spirit poems ’ sort of a form of spiritually dictated or guided automatic poetry! Poet as medium ’ I like it. Not seen this! And Diarra is from Mali ’ my first read of a vis-poet from that continent. We speak to each other with a poetry form from the other! Wow again. Wow.