When people email to request submission guidelines for this site I usually say something along the lines of:
“Oh pretty simple. Take a look around the site and send me what you have that you think would be appropriate. I can deal with most any file format, but Word .doc is my absolute least preferred. I tend to prefer works in a series, but, that’s definitely optional. If what you’re sending is very large (more than a couple of megabytes), please send it to logolalia.announce at gmail.com instead of the logolalia email address.”
What I get in return often misses the mark widely. I regularly get lexical poems that aren’t concrete (even in imagery!), aren’t minimalist, and—just between you and me—have a struggle to lay claim to the word poetry. Shotgunners, I call them. Just submitting willy-nilly and banking on the fact that a certain percentage of acceptances will result, regardless.
I’m not sure exactly when I started mentioning the series preference, but I am glad I did. It really had an effect on how focused submissions became. Visual poets, as a group, tend to be hugely prolific, so it’s really impossible to get a sense of either any one individual’s range or the range of the whole field from single works, single series, or any collection (such as the one this site represents) that presents such narrow snapshots. But, a focus on series did make things a lot more efficient for me in putting this all together. Where previously I would need to cull through a ton and a half of great work to assemble a representative overview that would fit the aims of this site, I started getting, instead, more narrow offerings to begin with. Since achieving a satisfactory representation wasn’t going to happen, anyway, not needing to work towards it was a positive thing.
Then along comes Mike Cannell, who interpreted my preference for series very narrowly. But not too narrowly, not at all. This is a series that at first might seem to be an ordered collection of consecutive transformations, or iterations, of the same operation. A “working series” that one might make when experimenting with a technique and trying to see how far things could bend before they break, a grouping that the short-sighted among you might spread out and then agonize over selecting which one was the best. That would be a mistake, because there isn’t one best. Here is the flow of a process (the making of the pieces themselves) talking about process itself while also standing as metaphorical representation for the flow of another process (how the tongue un-numbs (at least)).
I like these pieces for how different they aren’t, for how they manage to talk about a four-dimensional thing in only two dimensions, how they look like what they represent but represent more than what they look like. Much more.
Series, sequence, serious seek whence.
Please click on the thumbnails to see larger versions. Really, they’re too small to appreciate if you don’t.
numbtongue 1-7, by Mike Cannell
Mike Cannell is an intermedia poly-poet who works in sound, visual, asemic and textual poetry along with many other experiments revolving around an interest in the materiality of language. His work is viewable on his blogs: