Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Two of my adaptations of Andrea Alciati's EMBLEMS are up, at AGNI. I'm making a little book of these that I'm calling Unreasonable Facsimiles: based on the ‘Emblems’ of Andrea Alciati
Alciati’s Emblematum Liber, first published in 1531, is an urbane collection of proverbs, riddles, and enigmatic emblems that is today most familiar to art historians because of their accompanying woodblocks. Alciati’s book, however, was enormously popular and influential in the Renaissance and gave rise to a school of “emblem poetry” that continued to be popular through the 19th century. I am most excited by the rhetorical strategies, the wit, and the ethical imagination at work in Alciati’s Emblems and the poems I have written so far in this series attempt to bring those qualities to bear on poems about our own times. Playful, enigmatic, epigrammatic, demotic, ironic, and succinct, the poems will comprise more of a series than a sequence. Alciati (sometimes referred to as Alciato) wrote 212 of these. I would like to compose twenty-five or thirty; I'm about halfway there.