Abjective: A Review

Posted by @ 2:35 pm on January 13th, 2009

I had to look up the definition of Abjective, which means — yes all you smartypants I know you already know — (adj.) tending to degrade, humiliate, or demoralize (sounds like my first hernia). Editor Darby Larson, who is not a stranger to getting work published, has started Abjective, which posts a new piece every Saturday.

I write about Abjective, and not another journal, because Larson seems intent on doing something ‘new,’ two particular cases in point being Drifter by Jeff Crouch and ……and This Is About All I Knew Do Say…..by Zachary Bush.

Drifter, with a gentle backwards curve that leads the eye to the left-margin, contains large excerpted passages from other websites as one giant hyperlink (an act which dispels any feeling of plagiarism). Here Crouch is embracing the fragmented, almost schizophrenic way we interface with ‘reading’ online, using links within a ‘poem.’ One wonders, in this 404 Not Found world, what will outlast the other, the link or the poem, an idea which, I think, plays a lot with the meaning of the poem.

Zachary Bush’s piece is syntactically difficult to read: sans spaces, frenetic periods, upper/lower-case toggling (a la teenage girl texting frenzy), etc. I always find myself invigorated to read such text, as if the writer was somehow bluffing me, or challenging me to a thumb-wrestle. In the end, I always walk away (wtf am I talkin’ bout? I’m sitting right here!) with a better understanding, or misunderstanding, of how language is perceived and often taken for granted.

Larson’s online stoicism and rational argumentativeness (in his blog, his comments at this website) is very welcomed; he is not seduced by ‘cool’ writing that is becoming less and less distinguishable with an irony long orphaned from irony’s original intent. I imagine him saying ‘damn kids’ on his lawn. Maybe he’s just a grouch, but I think he’s onto something.

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