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Hill, Emma—Art Review
Hill, Emma. "Review of The Case for Memory." Art Review 52 (December/ January 2002.)

The Case for Memory (Granary Books, NY) is the most recent artist's book by lan 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
far better
than a mask.
The price of happiness
is wisdom

. These clear, sensual poems speak also on the inexorable urgency of life. They are unsparing, their language direct and unembellished, and Tyson has given them the most minimal of images with which to "reach into the silence." Black pages are printed with a revolving grid of three colors.

The simple punctuations of line establishing space and depth as their gentle revolutions throughout the book impose a circularity to the structure.





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