143.4: Travis Macdonald:: from Bookquet 143

Travis Macdonald's aptly titled "Bookquet" is a found poem project that documents the visible type on paper flowers that were used as decorations in Macdonald's own wedding celebration. The project might be described as aleatoric, in the same spirit as Cage's improvisations; however, I remain struck by the ambivalence of language gleaned from flower-shapes. On the one hand, these selections from "Bookquet" encourage readers to make connections across arbitrary breaks in meaning. On the other hand, the project reminds us of the strange way that deliberateness in one dimension often produces chaos in another. The careful folding that has created a flower from paper also produces "Embassy where a convoy / the con was even."

Macdonald's play with deliberateness and chaos calls attention to larger social and poetic practices. The phenomenon of paper flowers troubles the procession of sign, referent, and significant. Instead of poems that refer to roses, "Bookquet" registers the arbitrariness of the folds and creases that make one thing into another thing. Macdonald's project speaks back to Ezra Pound's call to "make it new." This task is more difficult than coming up with more metaphors. As Gertrude Stein's famous repetition of the word "rose" suggests, sometimes making something new requires that a poet account for the way that a word is actually used. Macdonald's experiment shows us the violence and beauty necessary to make language into a flower, to make metaphor literal. Ryan Winet

from Bookquet

I        st 2, 191
                 rs had been un
in the         and to create a
ineptly       of the proletari
followed    idly as it had
                 to the Sovi
universal contempt and fo
purges, except for a hand
to power as camp follo
occupied by

ove, we were
ong, threatening hours
Embassy where a convoy
the con     was even

     beaux’ in slo
    re broken vows
     lovers’ hearts with
        trust the Muse –
           marked by none
              star, it shot the
    d drew behind a rad
   Then cease, bright n
  Which adds new glory
Not all the tresses
Shall draw such

   out forming a
   In spite of the
   gued for reform.
    academy to cont
              who viola
to coin words as m
efender of what
  Proposal for C
ongue (1712)

reign words, and
      reason for the fa
       eighteenth centur
          colonized the A
      and in the later part
     Napoleonic wars, Eng
      The English language
                     rkable incr
                    been sh
                 ny I.


the first two chap
   in his sleep by
     sported with
         where he i
           He wins
   it taught their la
   of his sword an
      venture bec

was now faced with the
abandoning a cherished myt
absorbed into    he Kordas’ wo
     the best       education

    This is a roll of thirty-fiv

ex. Prophylactic. You know,
  in your wall when

     e as a duty, not an
    “the nature of the covenant
  agement at all, to set aside any
 ording to Aquinas: “Granted that a
 same thing God wills, he is bound
ince the knowledge of what this is
  mandments, a person is obliged to
   entury pamphlet, the Jewish phil-
    ay: Truly, people err when they
    gains the clear and simple state-
     of Proverbs refers to the “integrity
      ightness as the capacity for dis-
      matters is that the duty to obe

        steadfast principles until
       il’s point is well taken, not on
      atter of human personality: we
     beliefs when we have something
    is built around such steadfastness.
   nd to sacrifice his son Isaac, and Job
  ions, to abandon his faith (or, as he p
 ecular examples abound. Thus, Bobby
genius who was world chess champion
 Boris Spassky in 1972 until his resigna
  spoiled and irritating brat, but there

               in part by reason. But o
             ich incorporates a wealth o
              over time been accepted as
          ence, argued Professor Tyler in
           is ever active and awake, pass-
            ing as it appears to be right or
         ts stern prohibition.”
          that the knowledge of right and
         either placed by God in Creation,
         would suggest, in the upbringing
        Williams is very much in this spirit
         come down from Kant that a con-