A note on the name “Partitions,” a new literary journal in the works at The Bodily Press

Bodily press logo no textThis is written in response to some initial feedback I’ve received about the journal, namely to a welcome critique of the name “Partitions,” which suggests a division, a separation, a dividing up. This response continues in the vein of the initial mission statement posted on the “Partitions” portion of this blog, and hopes to extrapolate further my decision to name it as such. -Eliot Cardinaux, Founder, The Bodily Press

Partitions in this context is a word I’ve thought over quite a bit. John Berger put it this, serendipitous way, in an essay that sparked this endeavor for me, “The Hour of Poetry.”

“To break the silence of events, to speak of experience, however bitter or lacerating, to put into words, is to discover the hope that these words may be heard, and that when heard, the events will be judged.” -John Berger

The idea behind partitions is that they are part of our world, and thus a part our experience. They propose both a problem and a solution. As poetry is a moveable form of testimony to events such as the one we are currently living in, it exists outside the courts, and therefore, in its potential, against what Berger calls “the indifference of language … continually solicited and employed in bulletins, legal records, communiqués, files.” He posits that “poetry addresses language in such a way as to close this indifference and to incite a caring.” That “the boon of language is not tenderness,” it is rather that “potentially, [language itself] is complete.”
According to Berger, language contains “the potentiality of holding with words the totality of human experience.” My hope for this journal is to solicit writers to show, in their own right, how this potential might be fulfilled, quite differently, from person to person, in holding divided space. Berger proposes that poetry exists for and precisely because of this potentiality of language to encompass “everything that has occurred and may occur. It even allows space for the unspeakable.” In short, in poetry, we tell our history.
I’ll leave you with an unanswered question from Berger’s essay as a sort of prompt, an investigation as to what these partitions might mean to you.

“One can say anything to language. This is why it is a listener, closer to us than any silence or god. [So…] How does poetry incite this caring? And what is the labour of poetry?” -John Berger, “The Hour of Poetry”

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