UbuWeb | UbuWeb Papers

Jessica Smith


1.The poem is a topological space.

1.1    The poem is situated on a topological space

1.1.1           The "blank" space of the page is not "blank."      It is volatile; it is active.  Words may be in one place and may shift to another place.      It is porous and unstable.  Words may falls into faults or cracks in the page.      It is spongy.  Different places on the page have different weights and gravitational pulls.  This affects placement of words.

1.1.2           Words may become unrecognizable due to geographic activity.      Meaning is secondary to sight. Meaning must be collected in a treasure hunt through the page. Meaning is one of many possible maps through a page. Meaning is only possible on the level of the page.        The page's topology determines meaning.        The words' geological placement determines meaning.        History determines meaning.        The reader's specific travels determine meaning.      Sound is secondary to sight. The page is not a score for reading.        The poem need not be read aloud.        The "blank" spaces of the page are not "scored."               The "blank" spaces of the page are not equal.  Some spaces are more blank than others.  Some blank spaces are larger than other blank spaces that may look equal.               "Blank" spaces can be bridged, like a wormhole rather than like a musical measure.

1.2    The poem is a set of topological figures or features.

1.2.1           Words are subject to disintegration, death, and other natural events that individuals of all types face.

1.2.2           The words on the page represent the page at a certain geological moment.      This moment implies a history.      This moment entails a future.      The reader sees merely a moment captured.

1.2.3           The "level of the page" is the only level.      The vertical "reader to page" and "author to page" and "author to reader" relationships are eradicated.      The horizontal journey through the page, as a hiker on a trail, is the only way to search for meaning. As such meanings will be different for each traveler. As such meaning is made through memory.  Connections are delayed, soundings are delayed, meaning is delayed.  Meaning is put together. As such meaning is a compound impression of a physically traversed space (the eye moves physically through the space as the mind encounters fragmented signifiers).

                                                       Each poem is a microcosm.

2. The page is a slice of geological time.  It has a past and a future.  It has physical features.

            2.1 It could have been otherwise.

3. The poem and the page become topological at the same time; as the reader traverses their space, he or she perceives a shifting, coming-into-being topology.