existent.ial celebrations

Posted by Daniela Elza on Dec 28 2010

Found out yesterday that the latest issue of SFU Educational Review, (Volume 4, 2010) is out. I have a piece (seven poems) in it titled: of non.verifiable truths and other existent.ial celebrations.

I would like to thank editor Charles Scott and the team for the encouraging editorial comments on my work. I am pasting them here so I can re-read them often while working on my thesis. To help keep at bay that lost and uncertain feeling that seems to sneak in from time to time and plague the process.

Daniela Elza lives and works in a multiverse of worlds, straddling the modern and postmodern, inviting us, through her play with the words and formatting of her concrete poetry, to reconsider meaning and our relationships to it. Drawing from the works of Robert Bringhurst and Gaston Bachelard, her work explores the complex relationships between language and knowledge. Elza’s poems may be said to exist in the well-established Canadian tradition of concrete and visual poetry: the works of Earle Birney, Bill Bissett, bpNichol, Judith Copithorne, and Steve McCaffery, to name but a few. But this is not the only tradition she in.habits. She is also a bud.ding philo.sopher (phila. sophia. her), and her work properly belongs alongside such Canadian luminaries such as Jan Zwicky and Tim Lilburn. Words may not be what they initially seem. We can recast them into wholly different forms and meanings with the simple placement of a period. Our benefit is that we get to think about things in a different way; sometimes we are shocked into a radical epistemic twist.

What else can you do with a lines like

“I never thought as far as
the s unset”
Or how about this:

.reality is that ill perceived light
that has to look into my eyes for

Elza’s pauses and dashes, her interruptions and periods, jar us out of a calm and certain scholastic comfort. At the same, though, they and the words she plays with are exhilarating and liberating for those used to a beginner’s mind, a beginner’s eye. Her poems at time strike with a resounding “Thwack!”, like a Zen koan. Her work, like Zwicky’s and Lilburn’s, is both lyrical and narrative, and like theirs, her words invite you along and hold you back to pause. They tease and torment.

Thanks for this gift today.

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