Apostrophe

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ECW Press, 2006 - Poetry - 293 pages
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you are entirely happy with your poem / you are not happy then there is no charge and your deposit is returned / you are totally satisfied with the outcome / you are a man / you are a little confused / you are entirely happy with your poem / you are not happy then there is no charge and your deposit is returned / you are totally satisfied with the outcome . . . ”Apostrophe” is: a) a figure of speech in which a person, an abstract quality or a nonexistent entity is addressed as though present b) a poem written in 1993 in which every sentence is an apostrophe c) a program--apostropheengine.ca--based on the 1993 poem that hijacks search engines in order to extend the poem infinitely d) a book of poetry written using the website The answer: e) all of the above. Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry’s Apostrophe contains all of these things, except the search engine (but you can visit that any time you like). Each line from the original poem has become the title of a new poem generated by the program’s metonymic romp through the World Wide Web. Phrases rub against each other promiscuously; poems and readers alike come to their own conclusions. The results are by turns poignant, banal, offensive and hilarious, but always surprising and always unaffected. In other words, everything a book of contemporary poetry should be, and then some. Poet and scholar Charles Bernstein has suggested that Apostrophe may be related to Freud’s notion of the uncanny, a somnambulistic drift that appears aimless yet somehow always returns to "you.” Apostrophe is an entirely new kind of poetry: neither stable nor unstable, sections come and go, but the overall shape of the poem remains vaguely familiar, like a trick of memory.
 

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Page 33 - Great whirls have little whirls, that feed on their velocity ; And little whirls have lesser whirls, and so on to viscosity.
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About the author (2006)

\Bill Kennedy is the artistic director of the Scream Literary Festival, a poetry editor for Coach House Books, and an organizer of the Lexiconjury Reading Series. Darren Wershler-Henry teaches communication studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and is the author of Free as in Speech and Beer and The Tapeworm Foundry. They both live in Toronto.

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