Dear Norma… by Cedar Sigo

Dear Norma,

Poetry has left its trace in your hand.

When I see your slick magazine pages with lines of black pastel sealing off and joining existing installations it seems to move into studies for set design. I think of Edward Gordon Craig and more recently Jean-Paul Goude. The rectangles are perfectly bright and suddenly brooked with your own collaged additions. I imagine them as balsa wood, that they might assume a weight the taught strings could easily withstand, that they would welcome the wind.

These worlds are truly products of “the third mind” as it is difficult at first to discern which elements have been added. I think of studies as forms that ask to be re-entered so they never seem bound by a sense of scale.

“The impossible is easy to reach/Who knows the way out of the labyrinth?/These are not rhetorical questions.” – Philip Lamantia

They seem like sets built for straight up poetry readings rather than the endless parade of poets theatre. I think they allow room for just one person to perform. They are abstractions certainly but seem to diagram the rise and fall and flash required of the body during a (real) poets reading. I like the tension of a reading to feel almost insurmountable. I often wonder if the audience is open to the possibility that they may have a wreck on their hands.

“The image is intimate, because it makes our intimacy an exterior power that we passively submit to: outside of us, in the backward motion of the world that the image provokes, the depth of our passion trails along, astray and brilliant” – Maurice Blanchot

Another piece sort of dangles off the wall in the form of a threat, crushing any further impulse to collage. It reminds me of one of Bruce Conner’s (stamped) Rat Bastard sculptures. I keep thinking that it’s supposed to fall….

I also make visual art on occasion, ink drawings from photos of artists or sometimes I spend several days copying a single castle. I think I told you I did a portrait of Clarice Lispector a few years back. Drawing in this manner in which the hand tries to duplicate the play of light over features seems more an exercise in translation. Wherein the self is dying to disperse but can never do so completely as it stays married to the pleasure of dwelling in its habits. Somewhat like writing within the margins of your own text.

((Both of us have been courted by poetry for so long that it pervades every form we set our mind to, the signature cut that we bring to the line is inescapable and in constant flux.))

“The four sovereign elements smile on us/but man in his freedom has made a fifth/

Do not the chaste lines of this ark/deny the dominion of space?” – Osip Mandelstam

It seems that just as you are beginning to sail along in a continuous vein it becomes broken. You suspend control or simply stop. This allows for the ultimate registration, a crossing of threads to mark an interdependence and then belief. The other artist I recognize in this work is Edward Corbett, his active stranding and exposure to a wet darkness. Now I seem to be back in the realm of your poetry and that need to form a notation. Your hand. Our fate.