Grandsons of Dr Seuss

Mongrel Media has released on DVD three films by Michael Ondaatje. They include Sons of Captain Poetry (1970, 29 mins.) which documents the work and spirit of bpNichol (1944-88). One of the treats of the film is capturing bpNichol reciting/chanting a concrete sound poem. The viewer really gets a sense of the body grounding nature of the vocal track: it’s visceral and out there.

And so I may be forgiven if I perhaps misremember the closing of the film. On the black screen there appears to appear the line

Your alphabet ends

which is then joined by a line appearing beneath

Where my alphabet begins

followed by an attribution to Dr. Seuss.

It appears my ordering is a bit off. I would have to review the film since one authority tracks down the quotation to the 1955 On Beyond Zebra!

In the places I go there are things that I see
That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.
I’m telling you this ’cause you’re one of my friends.
My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!

Now I see that it’s a single line. But I like mine! Certainly inflected by the odd memory work from the split fade-in on the screen from Sons of Captain Poetry — there is the attentive to sound repetition in the “n” in “begins” and “ends” and the other reversals — this so-called Zed version is forward thinking.

Your alphabet ends
Where my alphabet begins

I also probably have on the brain that collaboration between Jay MillAr and Stephen Cain, Double Helix, mischief for enlightened ears.

And so for day 1020

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.