Circling the Start
By Dixie Denman Junius
Tallahassee - Anhinga Press 2023
Press Visual Poetry Series, Kristine Snodgrass, Editor
60 pages paper
9.5’ x 9’
Review by De Villo Sloan
Editor Kristine Snodgrass has launched the new Anhinga Press Visual Poetry Series with a spectacular, full-length collection by emerging artist and asemic writer, Dixie Denman Junius.
half of Circling the Start is a powerful series based, ironically, on a
readable symbol: The Enso. Junius enters her asemic realm from Asian traditions
that engage with paradox and contradiction.
preface, Junius writes, “Enso is the Japanese word for circle and is strongly
associated with Zen, symbolizing anything from a rice cake to eternity” (xiii).
will certainly recognize the Enso as an indeterminate signifier that invites
meditations upon meaning and as Shakespeare said, “signifying nothing.”
Junius continues, “My expression of the Enso is an opening to reveal the wordless poems in my mind and heart – centering me in the infinite wisdom of the moment. Thus far, I have created over 100 imperfect circles and interpretations from the Enso.”
Circling the Start presents approximately 25 beautiful color prints arranged in a skillfully sequenced series that leads her audience to insights about the nature of signs and asemics. The Enso series presents a narrative of the deterioration or deconstruction of the sign.
The series highlights a binary structure. I note many of the neo-concrete poets
today chafe against the constraints of binary structures. I tend to agree, yet
in the case of Circling the Start, the emphasis on the binary is
justified, even beneficial. For instance, the Enso mirrors the signifier-signified
structure of the sign frequently appearing in semiotics.
section of the book is an eye-popping, color-drenched tour-de-force showcasing Junius’s
asemics. Her existing audience now has an enduring collection of her work
under one cover; a new audience will be exposed for the first time to her
I also want
to praise Anhinga Press for including important contextual elements in the
book: The introduction by Kristine Snodgrass, the preface by Dixie Denman
Junius and an afterword by Karla Van Vliet.
in contemporary vispo such as neo-concrete and asemic are opening fields of
uncharted territory that require new ways of reading to share the extraordinary vision of these artists.
If Circling the Start is any indication, we can look forward to new books in the Anhinga Press Visual Poetry Series with excitement.