Review of Stephanie Strickland’s V in Publisher’s Weekly

November 13, 2002 in Reviews

The following is a quote from a review in Publisher’s Weekly:

“If Brian Kim Stefans’s The Dreamlife of Letters (2000)-a gorgeous send-up of Freud, lettrism and contemporary gender-bending-was the first large-scale poem using the internet animator Flash, then this book by Strickland continues to blaze trails of possibility in a new poetic medium. By putting the soul of this book solely online, Strickland reaches beyond True North (1997), which was developed in both print and hypertext versions, and seeks to fully bridge the gap between print and electronic media. The work’s bound component consists of two sections, “WaveSon.nets” and “Losing L’Una,” printed reversibly (so that either section can be seen as beginning the book, and neither ends it) with a centerfold directing readers to a third, free, interactive section at http://vniverse.com. The printed poems encompass a broad range of thematic concerns-including virginity, body, circuitry, waveforms, wormholes, engineering, parturition, mythology, fractals and witchcraft: “This is hallucinated hearing/ in the service of art, of Arthur’s table,// R2, Artemis,/ and Ursa guarding the Pole./ Welcome, then, Presence, Reflection, Shadow,/ Refraction, She Who Stands,// Gnova, Gnomon, Goose, Ouzel, Orca, Longdark,/ Hardware, Software, Wetware, a Dolphin/ leaping, responding/ to the bare boy on her back.” And as in previous work, Strickland engages with a wealth of scientific, historical and biographical source material, particularly regarding the life and thought of Simone Weil (also the subject of Strickland’s The Red Virgin, 1993). But the point here is the endless combinations created by clicking variously on the Web site’s screen filled with gently twinkling stars, which sets off a process of selection, combination, dissolve, and recombination among lines, phrases and sources in the printed text. Strickland’s interrogation of structure finally outshines her content, but readers will sense that she is also creating space for future work, both by herself and by others, bringing intelligence and legitimacy to a new form.”