When I read for pleasure I want to be transported to another place: another world, another time, another headspace. But it is a particular treat when I am able to get a fresh perspective on the art of writing and storytelling itself.
That is the goal for this issue of Western Humanities Review, which is replete with hybrid pieces like those by James Sanders and Zac Denton. Conceivably called “word webs,” these nonlinear collections of words, more like word clouds, invite interactive art-making on the page. Readers are encouraged to shape their own poems from the web. I had some fun with that and created a poem or two of my own.
Another form of storytelling is re-examined in a collection of found poems in Susan Howe’s piece, “Poem Found in a Pioneer Museum.” Made up of selections of signs in museums, these unintentional poems invite us to consider a personal re-enchantment with the world around us.
Also included, though hard to describe, is art where text and image are married together in such a way that the world itself can seem like its material is made of words. This is expressed beautifully in Jeff Alessandrelli’s “Gnosienne #2,” Nance Van Winkel’s collection Six Photoems, and dawn lonsinger’s ethereal “what if you come near it.” The aim of all these pieces is to marry different forms of art together to create a “hybrid work.” To put it simply, as the editors of the magazine do in their Editor’s Note, “a hybrid work is a literary form that utilizes two types of genres for inspiration.” The “collaborative” in the sub-title refers to many pieces found in the issue in which two or more artists combined efforts to create a work of art.
Now, whether you feel comfortable or understand it all is a whole other ball game; but perhaps that is what’s meant to happen when we enter what #38 of the editorial introduction’s “(45 Tweets on Not-Knowing)” describes as, “Moments that allow us to abandon, however fleetingly, the securities of our limitedness & enter new realms of self-reflective consciousness.”