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Chowen, Val - Art Review
Art Review
December/January 2002

THE CASE FOR MEMORY

Granary Books, edition 80 copies signed by Ian Tyson and Jerome Rothenberg

The Case for Memory (Granary Books, NY) is the most recent artist's book by Ian Tyson and Jerome Rothenberg in a collaborative relationship that has spanned over 30 years. The book contains 12 poems from a series of 100 that is to be published by New Directions, counterpoised by Tyson's austere, abstract images. Selected and designed by the artist, The Case for Memory is a rare and fine example of a perfectly balanced book. Partly this is to do with the weight of Rothenberg's words. Reading them through the new focus of the last weeks, their sense of the cruelty of man is remarkably prescient: "Hate suits/ the human face better/ than a mask/ The price of happiness/ is wisdom...." These clear, sensual poems speak also to the inexorable urgency of it. They are unsparing, their language direct and unembellished and Tyson has given them most minimal of images from which to "reach into the silence. Black pages are printed with revolving grid of three colours.

The simple punctuations ____ line establishing space and _____ their gentle revolutions through the book impose a circularity of the structure.

Contact: val.chowen@wanadoo.fr





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