September 27, 2008
The Alphabet Game:
a bpNichol Reader
Edited by Darren Wershler-Henry and Lori Emerson
Coach House Books
bpNichol was obsessed with the alphabet and its relationship to experience and, as he wrote it, thot. He drove this obsession like the engineer of a transcontinental train through the landscapes of sound poetry, the book-length and life-long poem, and even digital poetry. Nichol inked drawings and wrote for lungs, typewriter, press, television (specifically, Fraggle Rock) and Apple ][ (his remarkable poem, First Screening, is available online thanks to Jim Andrews and others). The editors of The Alphabet Game made the bold (but never procrustean) choices necessary to give a sense of the tremendous scope and depth of Nichol’s work in a single volume, and to present this work beautifully. They have started an online Nichol archive as well. For those who care about the materiality of poems, or word and image, or page and screen – and for those who love poetry and the alphabet – this book is essential.