Writing Nothing: A Critical Guide to Asemic Poetry




Montgomery, Isaac

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Asemic writing is marks made on a medium which are intended to look like language. Since the start of the asemic movement in the 1990s, asemic writing has gained popularity with avant-garde poets and calligraphers, and has gained circulation online and physically. Despite the growth in this genre, academic research on this topic is lacking, especially relating to the interpretation and criticism of these works. This research aims to fill this gap by preparing critics to identify asemic writing and place it in historical context. It then gives perspectives on how asemic writers frame their work, and why this framing matters to the interpretation process. Finally, it proposes a model on how asemic writing impacts the brain, and how current cognitive science understandings of reading might inform the process of reading asemic writing. All of these lines of inquiry are layered into a single critical method, and readers see this method applied to several important works of asemic writing. In short, when looking at a piece of asemic writing the critic must ask 1) does this look good? 2) do the pieces of information surrounding a poem that are available to the reader work together? And 3) does the piece look like writing? When readers are able to understand the importance of these questions and effectively answer them about a given piece of asemic writing, they are prepared to begin the work of interpretation and criticism.



Asemic Poetry, Criticism, Literature, Poetry