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At Jacket 2, Tyrone Williams on The Crystal Text
Craig Dworkin, The Crystal Text (Compline), n.p.—Importantly, the “author” of this chapbook does not appear on the cover or back. Instead, Dworkin’s name appears on the title page below this parenthetical note: “(After Clark Coolidge).” Thus the cover foregrounds only the “crystal text,” recalling Pound’s insistence that it doesn’t matter who writes great poems, only that they be written. In addition, though no date of publication appears anywhere, a note on the last page tells us that the text “marks Craig Dworkin’s reading with Myung Mi Kim on December 14, 2012 for Small Press Traffic.” Since the editors do not indicate that the text is a graphic recording or transcription—faithful or not—of Dworkin’s reading, the verb of choice, “marks,” gains significance, especially as it concerns a text that is an ‘edited’ version of Coolidge’s monumental work, first published in 1986 by The Figures and republished in 1995 by Sun & Moon. A detractor might wryly note the pernicious influence, still, of Borges’ “Pierre Menard,” or more distantly (and perhaps less likely), Nabokov’s Pale Fire. As with all modes of appropriation—and here it doesn’t really matter whether we name this procedure Conceptual or not—the looming question (though not the only or even most important one) is does Dworkin’s text measure up to Coolidge’s, by which I mean, is there a reason to read this one with, in place of, or in ignorance of, Coolidge’s “original”? [...]
Read more at Jacket 2!