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After being released from a concentration camp and becoming an exile in Shanghai, Charles K. Bliss invented a language of no sounds. A writing system of symbols to circumvent speech, its manipulations. Ideographic. Ideo. Idea. Ideal as the space between mind and page as silent.
In the future, English writing more and more becomes the opposite of this. Each word must be said aloud before it appears on the screen. Seeing, without saying—that’s the manipulation. From voice, which has become content the way sex is the subtext. The flesh of meaning.
English adopts a notational system of dots and dashes above and between words to approximate tone, to make the speaking silently talk. We can’t trust them, the words, to be the mind behind. A dot. A dash. The speech within speech.
In 2013, a Canadian company released the program ToneCheck that screens emails for potentially conflict-causing language. Post-meeting anger: alert. Late night reach/bite toward a lost lover: don’t.
In Future English, the thread of feeling in each word has become an overt overture, a prioritized primal focal point. Words are color-coded according to an emotional template based on the smallest fluctuations of pulse and temperature in the tips of fingers. What do we encode into words with our bodies as we speak? There is technology for this. It’s right there in red red red.
I just want to say. I have been. I think about. Now you know.
With a feeling,
We invited poets to contribute new works, entering into a larger dialogue on what it means to have open eyes and ears in the twenty-first century. Poems by Armantrout, Ashbery, Bernstein, Pinsky, and others.
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