Of the first two sets of units in this Module, the second set is by far more interesting and engaging, at least to me. With the exception of a few key points– runekafli, the multiple re-writes of Ulysses, futhark–units 1, 2, and 3 left me wondering why I enrolled in this program and invoking the name of academics-gods-gone-awry. Even unit 4 with its 12-page transcript of the recorded conversations of young college women (why wasn’t this more interesting to me?) held my commitment to UNott at bay. But then, like a bright, pale blue streak in a storm of slate gray came unit 5: Iconicity and all of its fantastic linguistic literary magic. I am delighted, no, tickled to be a part of a world in which a book called Form Miming Meaning exists. And further, to know that a downloaded copy is right now loaded onto my Macintosh machine. Holy wonders; the world is great indeed.
The first thing that struck me about literary iconicity was, undoubtedly, the word iconicity. For years icon has been one of my favorite words, not to mention concepts. An icon is more than a symbol, more than an image, in fact, it is rather like a symbol-image that works overtime. Iconicity is exactly what the title of Fischer and Nanny’s book says it is: A form that mimes a meaning. It is the best of both worlds: image and message. Simply writing that sends lovely titillating shivers up my spine. Images, messages. Images, messages. All the world should be so neat.
But after iconicity–the word that is– comes John, who is the second, but no less valuable or important, reason for icon-love. John, while in his MFA program, discovered the imagists, the band of poets and writers for whom the image was everything. I don’t mean that they all sat around and made word-pictures or anything like that. What is meant here by image is the kernel, the root idea from which the poem occurs; the meaning around which the form of the poem takes place. In this sense, his interest, John’s interest is the same as mine, and that we found them each independently and in separate ways makes it all the more meaningful. Form miming meaning, once again.