THE PHILOSOPHY OF DECOMPOSITION / RE-COMPOSITION AS EXPLANATION:A POE AND STEIN MASH-UP
The Philosophy… is, in the words of the author, “a genetic splicing of two classic essays on composition.” Using Poe’s “The Philosophy of Composition” (1846) and Stein’s “Composition as Explanation” (1926), Michael Leong has “lifted out individual words and phrases from the two source texts and used them to slowly accrete linked assemblages of verbal tesserae” and, in the process, intentionally constructed a novel work of constraint–based, conceptual poetics. It enacts the phenomenology of finding language, of imagination-at-work, while performing a critique of editorial and authorial ethics.
The Philosophy… is 40 pages in a print run of 90. The cover is made from Xylene ink transfers, and the interleaf is singed & scarred with homemade gunpowder burns.
Michael Leong is the author of several books and chapbooks of poetry including e.s.p. (Silenced Press, 2009), Cutting Time with a Knife (Black Square Editions/The Brooklyn Rail, forthcoming), Midnight’s Marsupium (The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2010), and The Great Archivist’s Cloudy Quotient (Beard of Bees, 2010). He has also translated the collection I, the Worst of All (BlazeVox, 2009) by the Chilean poet Estela Lamat. He currently teaches creative writing at Rutgers University and lives in New York City.
Read an excerpt from The Philosophy… and Michael’s essay, “Notes Toward an Interventionalist Conceptualism: On the Composition of The Philosophy of Decomposition:,” originally published in the winter 2012 issue of Modern Language Studies.
Read Afton Wilky’s review, and more about the book here: