Matt Margo's Reviews > Asemia

Asemia by Tim Gaze
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's review
Mar 25, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: five-star, asemic-writing

Tim Gaze once commented during an interview, "I believe that it’s possible to create rich pieces, which work on a number of levels, without using words. Sometimes, they look like illegible writing; other times, they’re abstract, unidentifiable shapes. Or combinations of those two, with recognizable things." He went on in much deeper detail to attempt to explain the correlation between asemic writing and etymological fallacy, the value of lettrism, and the politics of moving beyond the English language or the Roman alphabet. Gaze does indeed seem to be the godfather of asemic writing, and rightfully so. As an author/artist/creative entity, he tries his very damnedest to unleash the cultures of asemic writing and visual poetry further into the literary world. With this particular zine, bluntly titled "Asemia," Gaze works with a number of other writers from the scene in an ultimate attempt to display this still new and still undiscovered realm of literature for those interested or unaware.

The publication begins with a very free, unorganized flow of ink blotches, xenoglyphs, and alphabets from all of the different contributors. Unfortunately though, each author seems to only present a new style or piece of asemic writing/visual poetry on rare occasions, resulting in the bulk of "Asemia" being overrun with the same scraggly patterns or the same francophone hieroglyphics. Despite its title and concept which so straightforwardly intend for the whole collection to work as the introduction to asemic writing, "Asemia" is imperfect against its primary purpose, especially in comparison to the works of Rosaire Appel or Michael Jacobson or even Gaze himself that are explosive and dynamic from every page to the next.

However, Jim Leftwich does conclude this anthology very well with a prose-poem that perfectly puts the concept of asemia into words: "an asemic glyph is everything other than a return to the thing recalled, thus its campanulate kinship with the syllable, its stylistic refusal of the word, even as the letters revolt, serfs wielding their serifs like swords words worlds collapse into their opacity, unless we chance to sing them in defiance of azoic intent. asemia is not silence, nor is it any sort of absence, it is a song imploded everted, imbricate membrance."
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