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Showing posts from March, 2004

Lineation: Silliman’s New Sentence part one

The line only exists in relation to the before and after (Silliman, Tjanting 93)

Lines insert false time (Ibid. 86)

This is another sentence. Space is the same in all directions (Ibid. 82)

Margin types its own form. Each sentence is a test (Ibid. 82)

Earlier sentences, our old friend. (Ibid. 82)

The space was the last letter of the alphabet to be invented (Ibid. 90-1)


This flurry of comments on the nature of the relationship between line and space comes from Ron Sillimans long prose poem Tjanting (1981, re-issued Salt 2002). This work consists of a number of paragraphs each with a strictly limited number of sentences based on the Fibonacci sequence where the next number in a sequence is derived from the sum of the previous two numbers.

The poem is an example of what Silliman calls the new sentence, see his essay of the same name. The aims of the new sentence are a major challenge to the semiotics of lineation as I have been considering them over the last couple of months. The f…