Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Visual grammar

I guess what strikes me about Geof Huth's post on visual grammar is that, contrary to my focus, it deals with a visual representation of grammar: tense, and so time, is transposed to a visual plane. While I tend to think of grammar spatially, I usually think in terms of the space immanent to the material text itself: for instance, I've developed a small obsession with the appositive because I see it is a point where grammar and the material bleed together: the grammatical parallel is mirrored by a material besideness: "Mary, my sister, is...." I am also, to give more examples, fascinated by the repulsion the a's in the "mistake" "a answer" enact and by the attraction that nouns and verbs have on each other even when separated by other words. I think, by contrast, Huth's poem moves toward finding a grammar of space (in which, for instance, left becomes past). The inversion this encourages (the grammar of space instead of the space of grammar) feels a bit like an opening door to me. It makes me wonder what other inversions are out there waiting.

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