Preorder: Spooring by Patrick Barron
The interconnected texts in Spooring have their origin in a slow journey down the Apennine Mountains in central and southern Italy over the course of a number of months. The genre is mixed. Poems trade places with short prose passages and transcriptions of road signs. Footnotes interrupt throughout, tempting fragments and byways. There are also a number of photographs and maps. The project is inspired in part by Robert Smithson’s idea that “language should find itself in the physical world, and not end up locked in an idea in somebody’s head,” and also the corollary—that the physical world can find itself in language. Any text risks fossilizing ideas, and perhaps all the more so texts that take as their inspiration the physical world, since the overpowering immediacy of certain places tends to trick us into believing that language generated in response or dialogue will remain somehow authentic to those places. And the heady state of the cross-country walker is vulnerable to corruption, to believing that an empathetic dialectic with the physical world is translatable. To connect ideas to matter, thoughts to place, through language engaged with language. Not a fixed relief map, but a moveable index of small traces, tracks, words, and images, messages half-dismantled, enough to begin a paragraph or stanza, but not necessarily to finish.
Publication Date: March 17, 2020