Associate Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies Edgar Paiewonsky-Conde presented his experimental poetry in September at the Point of Contact Gallery in Syracuse. The poetry, which according to the poet has been “gestating for some time,” is an intriguing mix of verbal and visual elements best viewed live during a physical event. He also gave an informal showing of his poetry to the faculty of HWS, and will present his work this year in Madrid and Cuenca, Spain, as well as in his native Dominican Republic.
Paiewonsky-Conde’s poetry is two-fold in form. He says his verbal poems are “radically minimalist,” featuring condensed words and phrases in both Spanish and English under the general title “icons/iconos.” His work in distilling the language to its purest and most simple form has also led him in a second direction, to visual, supra-linguistic works that he calls “eye poems.”
The poet’s fascination with mathematics is also visible in the poems, which include titles such as “aba three,” “3 into five,” and “separates nine,” and which feature simplified geometric objects that explore the nature and meaning of numeric figures and the dualities of the material world. The eye poems often include movement and can be presented digitally as GIFs or video. Paiewonsky-Conde creates them with the assistance of two graphic designers: Emily Mills ’09, a William Smith graduate, and Anuka Mombiedro.
“Each of the icons tries to capture, in the manner of a formula, an essence of the material world,” says Paiewonsky-Conde, “while the eye poems make use of an archetypal figure, distilled by the poet, through which, as the poem progresses, it reveals a numeric essence.”
Dualities of time, place, color and position are all explored in the short pieces, often without titles, presenting snapshot images that pulse with meaning:
“The visual, to me, is immediate and revelatory; like dreams, it springs from the unconscious,” explains the poet. “The verbal is always mediation and, in pointing to things, words make us lose them; but one can get so much in shifting from one to the other, imaging the word and ‘wording’ the image.”
At Paiewonsky-Conde’s presentation in Cuenca, students of the School of Bellas Artes at the University of Castilla-La Mancha have finished a poem-artifact version of “pyramid siete 2 gif,” creating a 100 x 70 cm, silk-screen on transparent pages that they will be delivered during his reading.