Liner notes for a Pithecanthropus Erectus sketchbook, with a foreword by SJ Fowler, KDP, 2018 (Eng-Asemic) , ISBN 979-8640487855
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This collection of sheets is a purely asemic tone poem, sketching the mood of the first man to stand erect, taking inspiration from the musically depicted portrait given by Charles Mingus, in his Pithecanthropus Erectus.
Aiming at dealing with the story of mankind in its own way, asemic writing seemed the most appropriate choice, insisting upon semiotics, rather than idioms.
Overcome with his alleged superiority over the trees, likewise standing erect, but unmoving in the background, and over the animals, still in a prone position, man first conceived of conquering the Earth, then of eventually ruling Nature.
Given these assumptions, his sought emancipation led to solitude and self-enslaving.
As the original jazz suite, this poem can be loosely divided into four movements:
evolution, p. 11–23
superiority-complex, p. 24–47
decline, p. 48–53
destruction, p. 54–58
The first movement sets the elementary shapes (dots, stains, lines), which get later on, in the second movement especially, organized into more complex dynamic structures or repeated solos.
The introduction to the third movement, instead, registers a much more organic disturbance in the whole pattern. Further attempts to regain control over that first frantic signs of crisis fail.
The fourth movement is again based on the third, except that it develops into an increasing complexity ending with blank language lines, resembling those on page 28 and 29, but somehow unnaturally upwards, no longer organized into blocks.
The final, definite climax is a white fallout, an unexpressed ultimate (or even anew primordial) act.
London, Coldharbour Lane
My feeling on the poems is that they are a cohesive set, yet each has its own identity. How much time the reader spends with each is up to them, but they might spend hours, or seconds, with each or with all. How rare is a clear control of the pansemic aesthetic? Essentially it seems as though Federico’s poems are often the evocation of a structure evading itself, an exact match to what Mingus declared his piece was about – a ten minute tone poem. Certainly in terms of actual construction Federico is also providing a score, a rescoring of that which been unscored. Here is metaphorical language without semantics. Ambiguous detail activating the poetic. The work is remarkable precisely because it works in a graceful, familiar space to do often stark and unfamiliar things. Like jazz that absorbs sound. This feels to me a faithful act towards listening and the intention towards possibility and inspiration. The roll, the smudge, the dead signature. The cut in the scrawl. The squig. The line, cards and bled ink. Sounds on paper.