SYNOPTICON: A COLLABORATIVE POETICS
by Louis Armand & John Kinsella
with an introduction by Pierre Joris
ISBN 978-80-7308-410-3 (paperback). March 2012. Prague: Litteraria Pragensia.
“Who but John Kinsella and Louis Armand could have invented and laid out the 21st Century protocols that govern the intriguing collaborative poems in Synopticon? Encyclopedic, witty, packed with knowledge about arcane subjects, this is a book to sample and reread with ever-increasing knowledge, pleasure, and admiration.” –Marjorie Perloff, author of Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media and Differentials: Poetry, Poetics, Pedagogy.
Synopticon was composed during the course of an extended email exchange between 1997 and 2011. Part poetics of collaboration, part cultural archaeology, part textual collage, Synopticon records an investigation into memory, authorship and authenticity in the construction of social texts and cultural artefacts…
Pierre Joris — editor with Jerome Rothemberg of the Poems for the Millennium series — writes in his Introduction: “The authors are not trying to pull some theoretical punches behind the scenes, out of sight of the reader. What I’ve called elsewhere ‘process-showing,’ i.e. the propositions inside the text that speak of & to the text, giving the reader a handle on the text’s formal moves & methods of composition, these are a user’s manual that is not added to the package as some external supplement, but incorporated into, part of the text itself… imagining the poet as ‘the last scientist of the whole’ (Robert Kelly), i.e. as a last generalist (we shall go in fear of specialists) for whom all knowledge whatsoever is of use; a definition that also proposes an ambitious dimension for the work: how to bring the vast range of contemporary knowledges — be they facts, perceptions, realizations, readings, dreams, speculations, criticisms, variations, whatever — into an open field that is not pre-striated (in Deleuze/Guattari’s sense of overdetermined).”