45 • Andy Martrich



d wwhy dddd EElio

from the introduction:

d wwhy dddd EElio initially began as a stencil project— taking the shape of The Waste Land as governed by each page of the 75th Anniversary Harvest Book Edition and using it to carve content from online essays, analysis, cheat sheets, comment streams, copyright information, etc. This was done as an exploration into Creeley and Olson’s idea that “form is never more than an extension of content” —an inquiry into the privileging of content over context. This opposition is particularly noticeable in digital recreations of writing where form is completely disregarded as an inessential side effect of content (as in The Waste Land at Project Gutenberg, where the original shape of the poem is distorted, or as with Kindle, which houses the content of a novel regardless of whether its content was created specifically for the context of the book-form).

d wwhy dddd EElio leaves Eliot’s The Waste Land in the last century, for this, as a communion of working artists, we are most grateful and filled with glee. On this rubble Andy Martrich builds a new proposal using the frame of the page as a unit of composition, all angular as the culture of the computer suggests, and it is in the frames of this narrative concrete poetry that our living poetry manifests. His geometric forms veil and obliterate our heritage yet acknowledge that our poetry is derivative. It is a derivation, however, that refuses repeating the successes of thepast and the past’s failures. As an emergence in our time, the poetry becomes an alive art by involving our common mass language and the languages of mass advertising and information delivery. Martrich, the poet, expends this harvest to include pictures. As we read all the world today everywhere images are a facet of our dictionary. They are read like the letters of the alphabet and they are literary aural images. The poet says, read. I read: go beyond and underneath and above our mundane flatness. The Waste Land, as much as it is at times a worthy monument, is here washed, cleansed, and forgiven, and now as literary molecule matriculates with Andy Martrich literary intelligence into a poetry that is a procession into our future poetry, the wish land. 

—Michael Basinski

Brothers and sisters, is there hope for the up-to-the-eyeballs deluge of lit-crit detritus that attends a pedagogical work-horse like The Waste Land?  And for that matter, is there hope for the iconic poem itself? Believe it or not, yes.  But only as meta-critically repurposed by visual poet Andy Martrich, whose ecological intervention into the trashbin of Waste-Landia transforms it into swirling, primitive letter-scapes that return language to the grimy, inventive freshness it deserves.  Reborn from a conservative bastion of pulpitry into a vibrating field of shapes, images and implied sounds, this poem lives again in the undoing of its “character armor.”

—Maria Damon

Martrich graciously guides us thru the 'apocalypse' of the book-object in its supposed death throes—historically savvy, absolutely contemporary, the lesson is that there is energy in what we thought was leaving, that fewer things are dead than we might think. A familiar investigation is suddenly invigorated, & we are fortunate enough to be along for a ride which is at turns elegant, radiant, occasionally grotesque & always entertaining.

—Patrick Lovelace

Andy Martrich is an American writer, musician, librarian and archivist from Emmaus, Pennsylvania currently living in New York. He is the author of several chapbooks including pegs (2007) and prod (2008). Poems have appeared under various pseudonyms in filling Station, Other Cl/utter, onedit, otoliths, fmachinery and others. He edits mid)rib (www.midribpoetry.com), an online journal of contemporary poetics, with Gordon Faylor. He is a volunteer and committee member for FAVL (Friends Of African Village Libraries) a non-profit organization which manages and supports community libraries in rural Africa. He also works in a music library.


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