Poetry in Motion: Lyricism through Communication in Domenico Capilongo's send
August 10, 2017
In his latest poetry collection send (from Guernica Editions), Domenico Capilongo eschews other poetic topics for those that we encounter everyday: the media we use to communicate. His poems explore not only how they've changed through time but also if they truly allow us to express ourselves and hear each other.
Born when rotary telephones came in multiple colours, Domenico Capilongo began writing with pencil and paper, passing poetry notes from the back of the class. He still writes in notebooks, used a typewriter in high school, and his earliest published poems were printed on a dot-matrix printer. His latest poetry collection,
send, explores the ways in which we communicate. From smoke signals to texting, and using lyric meditation, personal narratives and experimental poetry, send forces us to examine how we choose to relate to one another.
As in his previous collections, Domenico Capilongo continues to play with lyricism, form and language. Many of the poems are experimental and include deletion poetry such as ‘twenty six of the most curious webster dictionary words’ (according to
huffingtonpost.com) and ‘how to yodel’ (from wiki how). Other poems are completely unique in their format, including ‘(a message from my computer)’ which is written in binary code.
she breathes. moves the dust floating in sunlight. the sound of steps. pencil-to-paper. fingers-to-touchscreen. breathe the thought. the brainwave of this. I’m sending you across time. a skyped-facetime kiss over the space of this bed. a text to the laundry room. email through the epidermis of the heart. can you hear this over the static of the moon? this satellite of caresses. move the antennae of this love affair to pick up a new channel. a missed call. the missed message. a mix of metaphors. sent on the leg of pigeon. wait by the mailbox. by the telephone in the wall. read the shape of clouds. the string of lanterns in the dead of night. the arm-stretched semaphore of the tongue. for this.
Along with being a writer, Domenico Capilongo also works as a high school teacher and references to modern pop culture are evident in his work. The book begins with a lyric by Arcade Fire from a song entitled "We Used to Wait" which Domenico states was an inspiration for the book. The song, much like send, focuses on how the speed of communication has changed, and not necessarily for the better. There is also a poem entitled ‘yolo’ which references Drake and Snapchat, familiar to the millennial generation.
middle age morse code
dashes. wake up with backache. dots. the mind knows but the body needs time to think about it. dashes. on second thought. past midnight. searching for lost loves on facebook. dots. can’t hold the drink like you used to. dashes. crow’s feet ‘round the eyes. dots. time to suck in the belly. dashes.
a nickel. a dime. a quarter. two quarters. a loonie. a toonie. a five. a ten. a twenty. a credit card tap. a finger print. a retinal scan. an embedded chip swipe. a brain wave. a single drop of blood. to talk to someone.
Poems such as ‘swim class’ and ‘walkie talkie’, which are shown in the clip below, focus on parenthood and how we communicate with our children. Send asks us to consider how the way we communicate with each other affects our message and what we are really trying to say.
* * *
Thanks so much to Alex at Guernica Editions, for going behind the text bubbles and smoke signals of sendwith us. For more Poetry in Motion,
All Lit Up is produced by the Literary Press Group and LitDistCo. LPG and LitDistCo acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.
All views expressed by bloggers and contributors to the All Lit Up blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of All Lit Up or the Literary Press Group.
All Lit Up acknowledges we are hosted on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat. We also recognize the enduring presence of all First Nations, Métis and the Inuit people, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to meet and work on this territory.