Rhapsodomancy is by my good friend and sometime co-conspirator kevin mcpherson eckhoff, and will be published by Coach House Books shortly (I read the book in manuscript years ago and re-read it today). It’s the kind of book that makes you hate the writer for being better than you. Make sure you buy this book when it comes out. I’ll let the CH catalogue describe it better than I could:
Reading is slow, and writing is slower. Words are oldfashioned. Why not consider the communication of the future? In 1837, Sir Isaac Pitman began a sixty-year obsession with producing a system of Shorthand that accurately and swiftly captures voice as evidence of the mind’s movements. Then, in the 1950s, John Malone developed Unifon, a forty-character phonetic alphabet intended for international communication by the airline industry. Both projects reached for artful utility and both have largely been forgotten.
In Rhapsodomancy, kevin mcpherson eckhoff remembers them. Exploring these two phonic alphabets as image, these poems playfully test the relationship between voice and visual poetry. Can pictures represent breath? Can unutterable writing express thought? Mcpherson eckhoff offers an imaginative response to such questions via empty suits reciting onomatopoeia, letters defying the laws of reality, and drawings divining the future.