If Language by Gregory BettsIf Language by Gregory Betts

If Language

byGregory Betts

Paperback | October 1, 2005

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Most anagrammaticians satisfy their urge with the rearranged name of a celebrity (Marshall McLuhan = Malls launch harm) or perhaps, if more adventurous, a familiar aphorism (The Medium is the Message = The Media is the Muse’s Gem). The true devotees of the clan turn to games like Scrabble and Humbug. Gregory Betts’ If Language takes this one-time parlour game to its evolutionary extreme, constructing 56 paragraph-long perfect anagrams of an original seed-text. Each poem is exactly 525 letters; the same letters that echo throughout the book is radically different forms. These poems test the endless possibilities of the constraint. They tell the mystical history of anagrams, from its use by early scientists to escape Christian zealots to Rosicrucian symbology to Greek mythology to Kabbalism. They explore how individualities happen in words and limited vocabularies. If Language asks the question: what are the limits of individuality within a closed system? Betts uses his own experiences, relationships and uncertainties to explore this question with humour, with intellect, and with a manic obsession capable of turning a simple game into this wildly original exploration.

Gregory Betts is the Director of Canadian Studies and the Graduate Program Director of Canadian and American Studies at Brock University. He is the author of five books of poetry, and the editor of four books of experimental Canadian writing. His monograph Avant-Garde Canadian Literature: The Early Manifestations is forthcoming from th...
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Title:If LanguageFormat:PaperbackDimensions:108 pages, 8.75 × 5.25 × 0.3 inPublished:October 1, 2005Publisher:BookThugLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0973718161

ISBN - 13:9780973718164

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