Christian Bök | Poetry

"W, a poem"

for Georges Perec 

To the V that stands for viewing what is all 
around us, eyes turned outward, toward the
conscious surface of things, surrealism has
relentlessly opposed W.André Breton

A meaningless distinction on W — leads to 
automatic disqualification.Georges Perec

It is the V you double, not the U, as if to use 
two valleys in a valise is to savvy the vacuum 
of a vowel at a powwow in between sawteeth.

It is to ask the painter of a watercolour hue:
'why owe you twice what a sheep is or a tree,
if the fee you double has to hew you a puzzle?'

An enigma, like a game in E, its jigsaw zigzag
never fits the excess void left behind by X,
the exit on the way from 'why' to what is said.

If you glean an anagram from each angle, do you
dabble with your double view of what you hate:
a swastika that awaits your Olympiad of riddles?

Is this letter a residuum of what troubles you?
If you slice it down the middle, does it not
hereafter indicate a twofold victory over life?

If it maps the rise and fall of fortune, like a yo-yo,
why oh, why oh, must you find four palm trees
in a park, if not to make of them your symbol?

It is the name for an X whose V does not view
the surface of a lake but the mirror on a wall,
where U and you become a tautonym, a continuum.


"W" is from Eunoia by Christian Bök republished on Design Observer through kind permission of the author and Coach House Press.

Posted in: Arts + Culture

Comments [2]

I've always enjoyed Christian Bök's poetry. I used to write experimental poetry a few years ago, although I've been sticking with a more traditional style of late.

Here's one inspired by Mr. Bök and the letter Q.

Able Parris

Strangely inspiring. Most of the poetry I've stumbled across lately has been excessively romantic to the point of saccharinity. I love when poetic language serves to deconstruct itself, rather than spew banalities. It creates an ambiguity that can only be resolved by the readers' own creative inclinations.
Andrew Croce

 Christian Bök Christian Bök is the author of Crystallography (1994), and Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science (2001). His book Eunoia won the 2002 Griffin Poetry Prize and is the best-selling Canadian poetry book of all time. He teaches at the University of Calgary.

Jobs | April 22