Zine Review: the vitamins of an alphabet

the vitamins of an alphabet

Sean Braune, unpaginated, above/ground press, abovegroundpress.blogspot.ca, $10


vitaminthe vitamins of an alphabet starts in medias res. There is no title page. There is no title for the first poem. In fact, the first word of the first poem isn’t even capitalized, although the other poems in the collection abide by this convention. Sean Braune’s chapbook of poems launches itself as if it weren’t really the beginning, but rather an “alphabetic terrarium” – the poems are kept safe inside the physical form of this little book, but they exist equally off of the page and out in the real world. As Braune inquires: “Do the letters or languages live? / Do they exists beyond this typing.”

Braune enlivens language. Words grow organically (perhaps enriched by the “green, leafy / vegetable / vitamins / of an alphabet”) into each other based on sound or the concrete shape on the page rather than meaning: “a lattice work, but the lettuce effects no nourishment because a cause is a use of being a caucus of tic tac toe cacti / causus belli.” the vitamins of an alphabet is a playful treatise on the arbitrary nature of orthography. Indeed, in the section “Four Variations on the Signifier,” Braune further explores the conflict between the abstraction of language and the empirical world with a set of images labeled as modifications of the word “signifier,” such as “Signifire” or “Signifrier.” Now serious linguistic terminology evokes images of sausages on a grill. Braune’s poems are an equal mix of theory and jokester. (Klara du Plessis)