Seam, Pen, Needle: Jill Magi on “A Textile Poetics”

from Jan Clausen
Magi Scalapino 1Over at Jacket2, that slightly obscure but thoroughly indispensable resource for thinking poetry, MFAW alum Jill Magi (most recent book: Labor) is pursuing a multi-month reflection on connections between textile production and the making of poetry. I love her description of the thread she’ll be following: not the easy equivalence of text = textile, but something more unsettling and allusive:
I will not say that a study of textiles will help us write poems; instead, I will document how simultaneous research into text and textile infects the making and discourse of the other. Touching your sleeve at this very moment, cloth invokes lived life and social realities; “cloth helps social groups to reproduce themselves” and is a source of great “semiotic potential,” say the editors of Cloth and Human Experience. Textiles may be objects of beauty and utility and they are socially situated, as is poetry.
Cloth and poetry as weave structure: a textile poetics.
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