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iHumument

By Harriet Staff

There’s an app for everything! Literally! And now there’s even an app for Tom Phillips’ beautiful erasure poem / painting, A Humument, which he’s been working on for the last much of his life. The work consists of a variety of pop and abstract reworkings of the pages of the novel A Human Document by Victorian author William Hurrell Mallock. The app, which costs $7.99, by the way, is described as follows:

Combining the 367 full-colour pages of Tom Phillips’ artist’s book, the treated Victorian novel A Humument, with an interactive oracle function, this App displays the luminous artwork in a fun and highly accessible way. The App version includes 39 newly created, previously unpublished pages.

I found this book (or rather, it found me) when I was not quite thirty and have worked on it constantly ever since. It beckoned me on as it yielded strange words and provoked new images and told the fragmentary tale of Irma and Bill Toge. Now I am well over seventy and still revisiting and revising its pages, I find further layers of hidden texts and buried messages. Like the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, chance pairs of pages, taken together and interpreted, act as a guide and cryptic commentary on life in word and picture; a not-too-serious oracle which I now share with you.


Posted in Poetry News on Friday, November 19th, 2010 by Harriet Staff.