Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Un: Poems

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Un: Poems

Article excerpt

'A hockey player may understand very little about the principles of anatomy. But he gets his body across the ice somehow'.1 This 'somehow' for Lee is the inescapable bubbling of language's meaning - any attempt to destruct language's potential to mean makes it mean all the more. Unlike the hypothetical hockey player, Lee demonstrably understands the anatomy of language: autonomous phonemes collide - suffixes stand solitary, stepping outside semantics -- parts of words hang sharp on angles of meaning - agile. This book confirms a physical language.

The fragmentation of words into their individual phonemes and a breaking of the word-unit suggest a fracture of traditional ways of reading. Lee does not allow only a reading for content-story, but presents a palimpsest of extrasemantic potentials: 'what I hear is initially without words' - an acknowledgment of the sonic, the physiological 'kinaesthetic perception of muscles'.2

This book is a departure for Lee from his previous work - an astonishing triple-jump from children's poetry to linguistically innovative verse. Lee's language errs on language's ability to represent - an explosion of language that at times seems to facilitate a representation of the post-apocalyptic gravel and dust of Un. Linguistic acrobatics feature prominently - a book 'written in a language whose closest relative is English',3 but also in cooperation with Francophone words, Joycean dehyphenisation, neologisms, and fragments that convey the idea of words. …

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