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Cluster index: Jaime Robles

Picturing language.

Jaime Robles: ‘There is a certain point when changing from verbal art to visual art that the artist’s concerns shift. Both poetry and visual art have physical and material presences; poetry in the orthography of letters, the breaks of lines and placement of words on the field of the page. This, however, is not its primary material manifestation, which is instead aural. Rhythm, metre and the pyrotechnics of sound are poetry’s primary physical reality. It is within this aural world – whether spoken out loud or heard in the reader’s interior voice – that poetry’s meaning is given and apprehended. These are the material concerns of poetry and, like those of visual arts, they focus and concentrate in the body. To accept the idea of our world being limited to or by our words is to deny the body’s sensual experience of the world. Language is a slow phenomenon relative to the body’s perception, experience and understanding of the world.’

The elegies of Susan Howe.

Jamie Robles: ‘Howe’s studies of genealogy run through both sides of her family, and are often placed, as in Frame Structures, one after the other. Howe offers another form of genealogy, however, one which is also elegiac but that lies apart from that of the lives and deaths of her family history: a genealogy of American women writers, who because of their gender have died a second death within history. Their lives and their spiritual passions — from the antinomian Ann Hutchinson to the poet Emily Dickinson — are embedded in Howe’s writing as she rediscovers and reorganizes these women’s thoughts, which were written during the formational years of New England up until the twentieth century. ‘