Rachel Blau DuPlessis has, to cite Walter Benjamin, “an edgy attraction to history’s material residues.” This has been one motivation of Drafts as a decade-long project, and it is a central motivation for The Collage Poems of Drafts. This book consists of two sequenced mixed-media works for reading and looking that move back and forth across the porous border between language and image. Draft 94: Mail Art alludes to the international collage exchanges send by the post; Draft CX: Primer examines the suggestiveness of the alphabet as one baseline of language and poetry, one method of making signs. Both works suggest the transport of daily life. These collages are acts of making, layering, and evoking by juxtaposition. They are cryptic, gnomic, even partly narrative, but as a whole they announce her fundamental commitment to juxtaposition—via syntax and segment in the poetry, and via image and color in the collages. They produce actualized metaphor, with talismanic signage, gnomic language, color, script, string—a thread of suggestive meanings set in play. These works are part of the bricolaging, anti-monumental sensibility of the work as a whole. They glean, they unpack and layer, they deturn images, they rescue and reframe the debris.
‘In sight, in sound, Rachel Blau DuPlessis returns us to the site of language where "the sun hums with a million tones, solar max in meets and bounds" and the pleasure of struggle struggles.’ —Susan Howe
‘With DuPlessis’s Collage Poems, readers are pulled into the alphabetic and antialphabetic matrix of Drafts as analog travelers “from dot to dot and mite to mite”: where words fail, swelling the circuits of correspondence, pleasure of color, motility, texture going viral. English: open here.’ —Jennifer Scappettone