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Title: The CounterText interview : Stephanie Strickland
Authors: Strickland, Stephanie
Aquilina, Mario
Callus, Ivan
Keywords: Strickland, Stephanie, 1942- -- Interviews
Prose literature
English essays
English literature
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press Ltd.
Citation: Strickland, S., Aquilina, M., & Callus, I. (2016). The CounterText interview : Stephanie Strickland. CounterText, 2(2), 113-129.
Abstract: Stephanie Strickland is that rare kind of writer: an acclaimed poet with collections that among other defining interests turn on subjects like women's experience (Bring the Body Back, 1991) and the life of Simone Weil (The Red Virgin: A Poem of Simone Weil, 1993), but one whose longstanding concern with the ways in which science, mathematics, poetry, the arts, history, and ecology are elementally integral to each other has meant that her work, by a necessary logic, commits to digital forms and an inhabiting of multi-register discourse that help to reframe what it means to bear witness to poetry's evolving callings and its newer platforms. In her work there is consequently no face-off between established and developing forms of poetry. Print and digital media are not in tension. Rather, there is a transmediatic organicity to her writing that is at the core of her achievement and her aesthetic. Additionally, her work positions itself not so much as a testament to the post-literary as to the excitement and provocation arising from contemporary literary practice when this is maximally mindful of tradition, of the instincts of polymathic and intermediatic individual talent, and of what might be thought of as ‘the sea and spar between’ and the currents and cross-currents teeming there (to allude, in one sentence, not only to Emily Dickinson and T. S. Eliot but also to the title of one of Strickland's generative texts: see poem ‘879’ in Dickinson 1960: 418; Eliot 1932 [1921]; Montfort and Strickland 2010). To speak about affordances – that much used word in our times that refers to the potentialities opened up by new media – is all very well, but affordances without delivered talent and art would be inert and sterile indeed. Strickland's work exemplifies the kind of delivery possible. Take, for instance, True North (1997). It is traversed by the figures of Emily Dickinson and Josiah Willard Gibbs (the nineteenth-century mathematical physicist and pioneer of statistical mechanics) and by a multi-register discourse (a defining Strickland trait) which explores the theme of finding one's compass direction (‘true north’): coming to awareness of ‘a state beyond number’, as Marjorie Perloff, in a tribute to the book, put it (as cited at But it also exists as a hypertext published by Eastgate Systems in 1998, which provides visual counterpointing and a set of new linkage paths for the poem's shifts and shapes. More complex use of digital means is made in two poems which appear on the CD published with Zone : Zero (2008). An extended interplay of stanza, image, and link appears in Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot (Strickland 1999); videography and algorithmically controlled generated text are deployed in slippingglimpse (Strickland, Lawson Jaramillo and Ryan 2008). The print texts of these poems appears on the pages of Zone : Zero and the digital works are available as well, independently, online.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacArtEng

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