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  • Jill.Z

时体 Body of Time

published in the 190 issue of Life Magazine

时(time) =日(sun) + 寸 (inch)*

* 寸 is a unit of length in the old Chinese measurement system, which lends itself a place in the language as a measure word. there's an idiom “一寸光阴,一寸金 an inch of time, an inch of gold” in which the expression of time preciousness is measured by 寸.

this is the last poem I worked on in the project, and I wanted to finish off with a conceptual gesture that echoes the cardinal exploration of time in “四维空间”, after my conversation with photographer 高远 about his process of creating the image digitally and how he's gone full digital from a photographer who used to create images with a camera, which resonated with me as someone who took up the visual & experimental path in poetry.

this poem is an example of having the defined form in head - shape of the Chinese character 时 in a possible view of three dimensions. I'm coining the practice of arranging English/Chinese poetic lines into the shape of a certain character 'translingual concrete' - it's language on language, which is meant to offer a fine-grained texture of language, and meanwhile make you question language and feel disoriented.

时体 literally means the shape/body of 时, and I like that sounds exactly the same as 实体 meaning 'entity'.


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