35. Ronald Johnson. "Picture to be made at a 90° angle and placed in a room corner," c. 1972.
Published here in: Ronald Johnson. Eyes & objects: (catalogue for an exhibition: 1970-1972). Highlands, N.C.: The Jargon Society, 1976. One of 1000 copies.
Rare Book Collection Folio.

Ronald Johnson's poem asks the reader to do a fair bit of work. As in some of his other poems, such as "Sculpture in the form of a sunflower the exact size of your head" and "Words to be printed top & sides of a clear cube," the title instructs the reader to imagine certain physical characteristics of the following poem. But how exactly should one follow the instructions of the title? Is the poem itself to be hung in the corner, or is it to be translated into pictorial form? At a 90°' angle in which direction? In a wall corner, floor corner, or ceiling corner? All these possibilities may cross the reader's mind, forming various ways in which the birds of the poem "are narrowed" instead of set free. One intent of the poem may be to question the nature of "framing" anything as art (or poetry), since wherever the frame is placed, its contents are constrained — and everything outside the frame is now also defined by its opposition.

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