A brief introduction to the work of Vincenz Serrano

There is much disorientation to be had in the poetry of Vincenz Serrano. At times it is the outcome of radical manipulations of lineation and layout to approximate simultaneity—subjecting the reader to dilemmas such as which line follows what, which section of the page to read first, and so on—the kind of disorientation that is immediate, blatant, unwavering in its intensity. Other times, it unfolds rather than assaults, discreet in its descent upon the reader, much like getting high on (as it turns out) pot being smoked in the next room. How the latter discloses itself while somewhat disguising the plot of its arrival is intriguing, especially since the disorientation seems driven by “a method akin to derangement”—a calculated, supervised chaos. It does not bear the markings of the surreal (whose network of associations permit and even seek the option of not adding up) and most certainly not of chance operations (whose idiosyncratic results are accountable to nothing, not even the terms which yielded them). Like the most serendipitous of highs, it almost but doesn’t quite spin out of control, and the poem, while loosening its tethers, doesn’t slip its moorings, the widening gaps only making discernible the filaments at work to constrain them.

Serrano’s method of composition could be described as anagrammatic, engaging the generative properties of a fixed set of terms. An anagram delights for its capacity to turn into something other than itself while remaining completely of itself, its transformation confined within the finite, governed not by addition, or deletion, but the rearrangement of its parts. What you see is still what you see—and also not quite, and also, not at all.

To read the rest of the introduction and a few poems by Vincenz Serrano, you can download the latest issue of Kritika Kultura here.