A stunning new work by Italian sound poet and artist Enzo Minarelli (b.1951). Romanzi nelle i takes inspiration from the sacred work of Abraham Abulafia (1240-1291), the Jewish mystic and father of linguistic permutation.
First Edition (200 copies)
• Hardbound, 71 pgs. (full color)
• CD of the 2015 rendition of Minarelli’s “Romanzi nelle i”
• DVD holding the original 2013 performance
Romanzi nelle i (2015) – 45:10
Presentation – 19:25
Performance – Romanzi nelle i (2013) – 46:13
Excerpt from book:
The prototype of permutation
It is not his life [Abulafia], however challenging it may have been, to have attracted me, but his very original theory of permutational study applied to nouns.
If we consider permutation as a creative act, immediately it comes to mind the poetry of Brion Gysin who in 1960 does exploit it in operational terms, although it must be added that his way of permutation was the direct result of programming a computer made by an English student, Ian Sommerville, escaped from Oxford University to take refuge at the Beat Hotel in Paris, where he met Gysin. The same observation must be made for the experience called Tape mark I, 1961 and Tape mark II 1963, by Nanni Balestrini, where the hardware makes the linguistic choice, or Tag-Surfusion by Jacques Donguy, in 1996.
They are, in essence, the same kind of texts, acutely called by Max Bense, «stochastic», as the machine decides for the author.
Abulafia, on the other hand, draws his series of permutation, studying the language from its inside, it is the prototype of permutation, the first motionless motor, and without tricks or deceptions, he sets up manually, only with the help of pen and paper, the whole universe of permutation, organizing a constant, linguistic change through a relentless swirl of terminology. Not necessarily he begins from codified words, but often he takes fragments, syllables, groups of arbitrary monemes that he himself develops and twists exponentially, applying mathematical rules.
The declared aim of his exercises is the divine ecstasy, as it will be sublimely described later in the poetry of Saint John of the Cross or Saint Teresa of Avila.
Unfortunately, he will be sidelined if not excommunicated by official Kabbalists, first, because he dares to declare that these exercises can also be practised by anyone, and not only by the initiated to cabal, second, he often uses erotic similarities to explain the divine contact, which was not a novelty if one thinks of The Song of Solomon, and yet, precisely because of these two reasons he will be forced into exile [he will die alone and abandoned by everybody in the tiny island of Comino near Malta], and for centuries, his theory will systematically be obscured if not boycotted.
The primitive simplicity of vocorality
Romanzi nelle i is an untranslatable title because it consists of the Italian anagram of my name and surname, in perfect Abulafia style, in its non-sense it means a lot: how many novels can be written in the i?
Or, how many words can be said about nothing? How many meaningless statements make sense? The term «novel» can mislead, but the idea of squeezing a novel into an i, is fully part of those impossibilities made possible by a vocoral experimentation.
The double subtitle, the sound of the sounds the word of the words, is referring to the zero degree of the sound, to the first instance of the word virginity, regressing to the time when there was no language, to the primordial status where all began.
If it is possible to pursue the writing of the book of the books as Mallarmé was dreaming, moreover I believe I can point at the sound of the sounds, the word of the words, that is the primitive simplicity of vocorality, the big bang of the linguistic explosion, the first sonic imprint.
For word, it is not to be understood the comprehensible term, but the arbitrary union of nouns after an eruption, the clinamen, the random fall of syllabic fragments because “we have to let the letters the chance of continuing to be read [heard], despite the existence of the words” according to a great insight of Rabbi Yosef Razin.