"A Fluke? [N]ever!": Reading Chris Edwards


This paper investigates the use of collage, mimicry and hieroglyphics by the innovative Australian poet Chris Edwards in his latest book of poetry, _People of Earth_ (Vagabond Press, 2011). With scissors in hand, Edwards goes hunting for Jacques Derrida’s “non-phonetic functions” and “operative silences of alphabetic writing”, those poetical score-marks that are neither “factual accident nor waste” (Derrida, ‘The Pit and the Pyramid’), but rather, endlessly renewable resources. The collagist is a recycler and composter, and also a compositor – a filmic sculptor who tricks visual fragments into new entities. Edwards is a deft and seamless crafter, often producing grammatically flawless collages whose motion from scene to scene is subtle and kaleidoscopic. An appendix to _People of Earth_ compiles hundreds of texts that are sources for Edwards’ poems. They are a gentle invitation to detective work, but mostly, a museum of tools tended by a fastidious drafter. This paper will explore the radical materialism of Chris Edwards while invoking along the way the ghosts of Christopher Brennan, Charlie Chaplin, Stéphane Mallarmé and Charles Olson

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