26 May 2006

Eunoia, Yes.

I've been looking for a place amidst the terrific sparks flying about to squeeze a word or two out of my sleep-deprived, impoverished word cloth/skull, and Carol's friendly post on Eunoia was it.

A marvelous book, Bok's book: smart, funny! strange. And, go figure, a huge seller in Canada. My copy, purchased a couple years ago, was the 15th printing. Perhaps others of you know the story better than I do -- but apparently what helped Eunoia catch on was interest from synesthetes (a society thereof), who found their senses going all deliciously bonkers when they would hit the different vowel-rich sections. Bok (I apologize for not knowing how to do the umlaut here) writes interestingly on writing Eunoia in the anthology Biting the Error (worth a long look, incidentally) -- describes how in part it was a way of wrastling with the Oulipo and the often, as he saw it (and it can certainly be true) bland (I paraphrase/misremember/muck up) results of their wild systems (I love the Oulipo to death, but it's definitely true that there are many works that are more, hmm, appealing in concept. Anyone else have that sense?). If you can get hold of the Coach House edition, do so -- it's printed on lovely paper, has a great cover and crisp, elegant font. I'm curious to see what Soft Skull does with it. Incidentally, Eunoia sits bizarrely close to Europeana (check it out, Kass -- I think you would dig it) in my mind, mostly for quirky personal reasons, but also as a striking gesture that manages to feel sui generis even as it positions itself in a traceable lineage. And then of course there are all those letters the two titles share...

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