"CANTO CXVII" by Federico Federici (Berlin, Germany)
I was very fortunate during the first part of the Asemic Front project to discover the highly thought-provoking image-text compositions of Federico Federici.
Federici's work invites the reader/viewer to consider multiple perspectives and grapple with the indeterminate. Specifically, though, I was intrigued by his highly original synthesis of asemic and concrete poetry elements. His work gave depth and breadth to the works gathered on the first Asemic Front where I had stated an intention to explore the relationship of contemporary asemic writing with classical, text-based concrete poetry. (However, Asemic Front welcomes all styles of visual poetry!)
I am now pleased to welcome Federico Federici to Asemic Front 2. I deeply appreciate his permission to reprint "CANTO CXVII." This work is, in my view, an example of Federici at his best. "CANTO CXVII" also has a subjective meaning to me. (Isn't our "reading" of asemic texts and many forms of visual poetry a deeply personal and ultimately ineffable experience?)
Starting with the title and continuing to the poem's shape on the page, structure and modernist poetics, I personally associate the piece with The Cantos of Ezra Pound. With Pound's grounding in Imagism and his use ideograms in his massive composition, we can view The Cantos today as a significant step in the evolution of the image-text. Thus, I see Federico's Federici placing itself as a later successor to this tradition. Thus "CANTO CXVII" can be viewed as a meditation upon the self-referential nature of language and a work that can be understood in the context of similar works.
Note that I make no claim here to pronounce the definitive "meaning" of Federici's composition or to claim any insight into his "intention" in creating the work. With visual poetry and asemics, these ideas of proper reading are irrelevant. I simply report my encounter with a work I find of great interest.
Deepest thanks to Federico Federici for his continued participation in Asemic Front.