Somewhere in between mathematics and theory, light and dark, physicality and projection, oscillates the poetry of Alessandro De Francesco.The texts hold no periods or commas, not even a capital letter for reference. Each piece stands as an individual construction, and yet the poetry flows in and out of the frame. Images resurface from one poem to the next, haunting the reader with reincarnations of an object lost in the grass or a representation of a pear in a Dutch still life, embedded in cycles of cinematic close-ups and multiple dimensions. As a whole, De Francesco’s oeuvre suggests a redefinition—linguistic, epistemological, personal.
The poem The End opens with a quote by literary theorist Maurice Blanchot, which may be translated as follows: Speaking is not seeing. Speaking frees thought from this optical imperative that in the Western tradition, for thousands of years, has subjugated our approach to things, and induced us to think under the guaranty of light or under the threat of its absence.
In writing, De Francesco seeks to redefine our approach to things. His poems, like Blanchot’s writings, speak to both illuminate and to obscure. The reader hangs in an absence of reality within language that necessitates an attempt at interpretation, yet renders such a search ultimately futile. De Francesco draws the anonymous images that appear in this poem from the city of Paris, his current home. The fragmented narratives in his poems depict an inner doubt of realness, calling for a confirmation of a physical existence beyond verbalization and cogitation. Cyclical references to film throw into question the reliability of the reality he creates. The light, sometimes red and safe, other times absent and murky, cannot necessarily be trusted as a guaranteed means of illumination. Blanchot’s distinction between language and visualization, and the relationship of each to reality, though linked specifically to The End, can be a lens through which to read any of his major works.
To further push the relative boundaries of practical convention but more importantly experience, De Francesco expands his written poetry into what he calls “reading environments.” In these sound experiments, De Francesco’s voice reading his poetry is manipulated by real time digital voice processing. The written is transformed to the spoken, and then injected with currents of electric sound. “At each activation of word in the darkness,” from The End is transformed into a nonphysical yet all-encompassing being. In these projects, realized all over Europe, De Francesco continues his examination of the word’s potency beyond the page and into an “n-dimensional space,” where the lines between nature and effect are intertwined.
To publish excerpts of De Francesco’s oeuvre is to show screenshots of full-length film or to randomly pull quotes from a philosophy treatise. In these poems, there are questions, not to be answered, but to be questioned again. The words will oscillate in and out of the square construction found in his poems, out of the borders of the page, out of the rectangle of the laptop screen. To fully experience the wonder of De Francesco’s poetry, one must actually read it.
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