I Meant To Be Transparent

LRL e-edition, 2012

“It was more like an impressionist portrait than an identification photo” writes Sarah Mangold in this book woven through the writing of early 20th century literary innovator Dorothy Richardson and the contours of contemporary poetics. Taking her title from a line in Robert Duncan’s Ground Work, Mangold’s attempted transparency slips original language between filmic jump cuts that mirror Richardson’s own prose and a near pre-raphaelite interleaving of fore and backgound — bringing the silenced, the skirted, the sidelined into view. By troubling the implications of linguistic transparency, Mangold challenges the literary portrait in a world in which “men and women are taught from the beginning to speak “his”” and likewise suspending the space before “feeling fades into thought –” In this hovering between, Mangold brings into focus the woman at the edge of the party with “Lots of big big revolution behind my eyes” and the ways in which the failure to be see-through becomes it’s own revelation.

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