Academic journal article Chicago Review

A Modernist's Mind's Ear: Anselm Hollo's Rue Wilson Monday

Academic journal article Chicago Review

A Modernist's Mind's Ear: Anselm Hollo's Rue Wilson Monday

Article excerpt

A note introducing Anselm Hollo's rue Wilson Monday (La Alameda Press, 2000) explains that this series of sixty-six poems "received its title from French poet Guillaume Apollinaire's 1913 poem `Lundi rue Christine," which Hollo describes as "a Cubist work composed almost entirely out of verbatim speech from various conversations in a cafe." Describing himself as continuing this tradition, Hollo asks us to read his poems as "similar conversations tak[ing] place in and around my head" during his stay at the Hotel Chevillon, "an artists' and writers' retreat in the small town of Grez-sur-Loing."

Fair enough, at least as regards the asking. But reading this book I found myself dissatisfied with Hollo's reformulation of what might be called the technique of"dialogic collage" employed by Apollinaire. In the latter's poem, seemingly verbatim snippets of conversation were juxtaposed to produce a lively tension between a mock sociology (a record of what people were talking about at a certain place during a certain time) and the individual identity that results from a modernist avant-garde attention to the ordering of form and content (a sense of the artist as someone whose perceptions are more finely tuned). In Hollo's book, on the other hand, all "conversation" is contained within the individual's mind, and the sense of a more genuine and formidable individuality, a sense of the ordering process, is lost.

This is not to say that Hollo is not aware that a shift-from the writer as an observer of others' speech to a writer as observer of his own thoughts-- has taken place. He indicates this both in the introduction, in which he points to Ted Berrigan's The Sonnets as a precursor, and in the poetry itself

This "mind's ear" is noticeably different from the ears of Apollinaire's mind when he wrote (in Anne Hyde Greets translation):

Whereas Hollo's thought is ultimately monologic-it turns on itself, recording even its own awareness of its own process of self-recording-Apollinaire's poetry is dialogic-dependent upon an interaction between self and others ("actually" overheard or imagined). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.