Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ONE WORD book video (featuring "fork" from "sixpack")

The promotional video for One Word book: contemporary writers on the words they love or loathe, edited by Molly McQuade from Sarabande Books features excerpts from fork, a section of the essay sixpack by Thylias Moss, a close associate of forkergirl.

Please enjoy this marvelous multimedia short film by Tucker Capps for Sarabande. Dear Storytellers (as we keep waiting for motion, please note the mix of active and static elements in this little film that delivers forkfuls of visual delight, the quick shift from one visual to another, continuity maintained/sustained by both the spoken text (written by forkergirl's friend) and the music by Jonathan Zalben. Note the range of visual textures. In this case, text preceded the film, inspired the film, provided both rules and obstructions in which/despite which the short film was made. The writing itself did not mandate an unfolding of content as a plot-dependent narrative —indeed; rules embedded in the structure of the writing (structure determined by tenets of Limited Fork Theory) may have made plot-dependent narrative an unlikely vehicle for content intentions or the content transcendence that occurs in this film.

My Two words about the One Word video: Forking good!

One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe from Sarabande Books on Vimeo.

From the One Word book website:
In One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe, Molly McQuade asks the question all writers love to answer: what one word means the most to you, and why? Writers respond with a wild gallimaufry of their own choosing, from ardor to bitchin’ to themostat to wrong to very. There is corn, not the vegetable but the idea, defining cultural generations; solmizate, meaning to sing an object into place; and delicious slang, such as darb and dassn’t. Composed as expository or lyric essays, zinging one-liners, extended quips, jeremiads, etymological adventures, or fantastic romps, the writings address not only English words but also a select few from French, German, Japanese, Quechua, Basque, Igbo, and others. The result is like the best of meals, filled with color, personality, and pomp. There is something delightful and significant for every reader who picks up this wonderful book.

“This sublime anthology is poetry for people who don’t read poems, collecting 67 essays, short stories, and memoirs in which seasoned writers and novices expound, meditate, or riff on a single word. The words range from the familiar (forget by Mimi Schwartz, crash by Dan Moyer) to the obscure (darb by Erin McGraw [1920s slang for an excellent person or thing], umunnem by Kelechi Okere [an Igbo term for all one's blood relatives], from the short (a by Joel Brouwer takes up eight pages) to the long (floccinaucinihilipification by Siobhan Gordon [it means nothing]. Thylias Moss’s disquisition on fork and related words itself forks in many directions. Jason Iwen detects capitalist ideology in interesting, which first appeared in 1711 in an economic context. Poets are almost half of the contributors, but they also include critics, translators, academics, and novelists. These marvelous little pieces of writing highlight not so much the words themselves as what words do, how they exist as themselves but also as the carriers of meanings, which shift and branch into many paths real and metaphoric, juicy with sound.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

One Word is a rich and varied collection of meditations on words from the simplest (a and or) to the rarest (kankedort, with only one known occurrence) and from the most basic (doom and filthy) to the most ornately elaborate (floccinaucinihipilification). Starting with Joel Brouwer’s deeply perceptive and thoroughly entertaining exploration of the article a through Lee Martin’s narrative of childhood memories attached to the tricky word colander, Joan Connor’s vignettes associated with lilac, Eric Ormsby’s profile of or (“It’s not a showy word but a worker word, a syntactic functionary. … Or stands like a squat bouncer at the revolving door of the disjunction.”), to Mary Swander’s recounting of two billion years of geological history lying beneath topsoil, we encounter all of the many ways that language and human events intersect. In each case, the writer has chosen, to borrow wording from Maureen N. McLane’s essay on kankedort, an “exceptional word”, an “unusual word,” a word that has “lodged itself like a mystery, a word that gathered around it associations [both] personal and ramifying…” Not surprisingly in a collection of writings about language, we encounter not only discussions of words and meanings but also stories of relationships with parents, children, mates, and friends, and of the intimate and powerful forces that shape lives. It is a measure of the power and the wisdom and the charm of these pieces that a reader’s relationship with these words will never be quite the same after reading this collection. Maggie Hivnor’s words about Yeats’ use of the word half-light seem apt for this collection as well: “When poets use a word as well as that, they leave a trace of meaning on it, a fingerprint—or sheen: a new layer of lacquer, a warmth, like the time-worn glow on the newel-post of an old banister, touched by generations.” Readers of this collection too will find that the words profiled here have a new trace of meaning, a warmth, and a time-worn glow.”
—John Morse, President and Publisher of Merriam-Webster, Inc.

“At last! A dictionary for people who are words! From the eight pages that define “A” (the fifth most commonly used word in English) (“A never looks back”) to the concluding two pages of “Wrong” (“Two wrongs only make a wrong wronger.”), what we have here is a smorgasbord of sentience, a collision of serendipity and scholarship. This is a book at play in the fields of meaning, a sixpack (Thylias Moss) of quipus (Arthur Sze), a dehiscence (Forrest Gander) of florere (Vincent Katz), I (Cynthia Gaver) hope (John Rodriguez) as (we like it) (Brenda Hillman). We like it! When More’s Utopia is realized, One Word will be the vocabulary list for the SATs. (Except: there will be no SATs!)”
—Bob Holman


  1. One thing I simply must note after watching the video (which is tre sweet, as the book looks like it is) because it's coming up in another class: a labyrinth tends to be unicursal (there is only one path, it doesn't branch at any point), unlike mazes which are multicursal.

    Sorry to get technical!

  2. Ah, one long branch that bends here and there, folds, unfolds —great (sub-branches within a single branch); also, some medieval labyrinths actually seem to span out in two directions from a single entrance; two arms that meet, fuse into, say, a single branch from the two directions (or two branches). And/or: That branches become connected or fused or curve into a single branch is fine. And/or: That a forking system forms with a single tine is acceptable, a single tine that may twist, loop, circle (in a labyrinthine way) —a single line but a complex line, perhaps with knots, multiple directions, each direction functioning as a branch —to branch does not have to mean separate (or multi-stroke lines), discontinuity of a line; loops in a single line, wave amplitude, etc. are forms of bifurcations. An assumption of multiple-lines is not necessary for all forms of branching.