In Uncategorized on August 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm


As part of I AM NOT A POET, VerySmallKitchen will feature online a number of films from its screening programme. The full festival of films is here.  This first online screening presents work by Emma Cocker. Emma writes:

Close Reading (C.O.P.V, 1950) is part of an ongoing series which investigates the practice of close reading or of an ‘explication de texte’. Here, close reading is not understood as the critical attention paid to the meaning of words themselves as signs, but is instead interested in those meanings produced by looking at words ‘close up’, through a process of visual magnification or close visual attention. Drawing on the Latin origins of the word explicare (as in explication de texte) which means to unfold, to fold out or set forth, within Cocker’s close reading words appear shifting and unstable, restless and unwilling to be stilled. The work looks towards the threshold where writing or text collapses into its component parts (ink and page); the point where the sense or legibility of a word is rendered illegible or nonsensical the closer it is attended to, as writing slips towards image.



I saw an early part of the work presented as part of Emma’s Close Reading/ Open Reading, a contribution to Writing (the) Space, at The Wild Pansy Press Project Space, Leeds on May 19th.

On that occasion Emma observed how a  “starting point or point of provocation” had been the following sentence from Olson’s 1950 poetics Projective Verse: “If I hammer, if I recall in, and keep calling in, the breath, the breathing as distinguished from the hearing, it is for cause, it is to insist upon a part that breath plays in verse.” She continued:

Close Reading / Open Reading investigates the capacity of methods of close attention for producing uncertainty, indeterminacy and formlessness rather than fixing or clarifying any single, stable meaning, where paradoxically perhaps, the more something becomes scrutinized the less it becomes known. Within my practice, processes of extraction, fragmentation, listing, footnoting and cross-referencing become used for generating ‘openings’ rather than conclusions, for appearing purposeful whilst remaining without clear or discernible intent…



… I envisage future experiments emerging from this presentations exploring the relationship between the practices of flitting and lingering (over a text)…

More of Emma’s work is here. Notes on Emma’s FIELD PROPOSALS for the  ART WRITING FIELD STATION are here.


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