THING ODE/ODE OGGETTUALE

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A bilingual chapbook translated into Italian by Jennifer Scappettone in conversation with Marco Giovenale (La Camera Verde: Collana Felix, 2008)

“Her reading…was an infusion of a flood of words intermingling across curved lines of vowels and consonants moving on their own, according to their own laws of nature. And the nature of these words today…is that of being denatured, being distanced from their objects, in conflict with their signifiers, in a dazed relation to their meaning. Jennifer nourishes us with this…. She translated the work, in dialogue with Marco Giovenale. It is for all practical purposes another text, a mirror-text, and most worthy, which converses with the original English one. A translation that has in fact enriched the text.” —Laura Cingolani, for Crak!

“‘Beyond the swing—the security’: thus ironizes Jennifer Scappettone’s mosaic: an ode and object code disassembling and recombining itself in this book in two (differently structured) parts that do not reciprocally mirror nor simply replace one another. One part implies and faces and foils the other. They contrast one another and ramify versus similar directions and lines (in just the way that some family members resemble each other, in the well-known example by Wittgenstein.)

“The line or direction taken by Thing Ode criticizes the commodity (society), the society of the ‘brand,’ as a mark and label of tyranny. But this is not an attack moving on a rhetorical front, nor one of eloquence. On the contrary, it shatters everything, mining single words (making each word’s ambiguity implode), mixing rhythm and lyric and intentionally ‘archaic’ terms, asking the reader to follow a textual strategy wrought of elusions, deviations, complex references, quotations (especially from Shakespeare), false tracks, puns, double and triple meanings. A fanning-open that is a politics as well: to declare without founding: to affirm without imposing. This is the gesture—feminine, utterly—of one who negates and overturns the puerile act of Adam. (Adam, the first to nominate/dominate.)

“In Thing Ode the constant disarticulation of discourse, dissipation into divergent semantic paths and possibilities (reunited by sound or contrast itself), is the ultimate route to throwing reading off-track, banning any sole, given, established, prevailing act of naming. The text’s strategy saves us from the market’s ‘ever easier’: (d)eluding the ‘spikes of activity,’ the claims and mad (human) costs of value, and diseases themselves turned to commodity, as Falstaff says.

“Disorientation and fragmentation are guerrilla warfare: they are one of the ultimate movements to impress upon the net of references and texts setting free and affirming the untold (always told) in Western history—the way it is now, as it wounds, is wounded, and regards us.” —Marco Giovenale


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