CHAPTER A for Hans Arp

for Hans Arp

Awkward grammar appals a craftsman. A Dada bard
as daft as Tzara damns stagnant art and scrawls an
alpha (a splapdash arc and a backward zag) that mars
all stanzas and jams all ballads (what a scandal). A
madcap vandal crafts a small black ankh — a hand-
stamp that can stamp a wax pad and at last plant a
mark that sparks an ars magna (an abstract art that
charts a phrasal anagram). A pagan skald chants a dark
saga (a Mahabharata), as a papal cabal blackballs all
annals and tracts, all dramas and psalms: Kant and
Kafka, Marx and Marat. A law as harsh as a fatwa bans
all paragraphs that lack an A as a standard hallmark.

from Chapter A of Christian Bök’s work Eunoia which consists of chapters written using words limited to a single vowel. I first came across this work in the June 2006 issue of Harper’s but was somehow reminded of Bök this morning while reading a sonnet by Frederick Seidel. Other rules for each chapter of Eunoia:

  • Each of the chapters must refer to the art of writing.
  • Each of the chapters have, “to describe a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau and a nautical voyage.”
  • All the sentences have to have an, “accent internal rhyme through the use of syntactical parallelism.”
  • The text has to include as many possible words in it as it can.
  • The text must avoid repeating words as much as possible.
  • The letter “Y” is to be avoided.

The full text can be read here.

Item originally posted to WeekendWindow tumblr