Image, Myth and Metaphor in Post-Industrial Landscaping: Edric Mesmer in Conversation

By | 1 November 2015

JS: Well, I’d say far enough, as your take on the disfigurative fragmentation of a place-based identity’s in situ organic mess of accretion – a ‘local aesthetic’ – ‘Janus-faced’ – seems to preempt what I had wanted to ask about historical markers as symbolic registers in your work. Which is also to say, thank you, Edric, for indulging my questions. I can’t recommend of monodies & homophony enough. Before wrapping this up, would you leave us with a hint of what you’re currently up to? What occupies your attention these days? What new obsessions – or old, as the case may be?

EM: Thanks you, Jared. I so appreciate these questions. What now? A few things I never feel far from: ‘Strawberry Island’; the work of Betty Danon; the boundaries of one’s own knowing …

‘Strawberry Island’ is a sequential poem I’ve been redrafting for over three years now; the poem began as a local stance attempting to coalesce concerns of witness, distance, and perception. For just as many years (perhaps longer now), I’ve been thinking about the work of Betty Danon; often called a visual poet, Danon is someone whose work finds relevance amid the textual, the visual, and the compositional. It’s as though – never comfortable is one genre – she was able to continually slide one lexicon through the idiom of another! Her work points me again and again toward what I imagine to be the heart of signification. And these both, I think, relate to the limits and desires of knowing; the making of a lexicon, libraries, language.

This is what I could be said to obsess over while cataloging, seated beneath the several floors of Lockwood Memorial Library – a juggernaut of text in print and code! and yet, a singular parameter; I am respectively situated.

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