Emmett Williams
1925 USA – 2007 Germany

sweethearts
Something Else Press, Inc. 1967
New York – Villefranche-sur-Mer – Frankfurt am Main – Toronto.

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From an annotated bibliography, Something Else Press:
An especially ambitious example of concrete poetry is William’s own book-length Sweethearts, an anagrammatic sequence depicting in rapidly shifting linguistic/typographic contexts what seems to be a very satisfying, even romantic, erotic encounter between “he” and she.” The entire text is derived from words embedded in the word “sweethearts,” a derivation that is not just anagrammatical, but dependent on the particular sequence of the letters in “sweethearts/” Moreover, the letters maintain their original spacing in every word on each page, as if each page is occupied by a vertical row of repeated “sweethearts” from which certain letters are blocked out. This gives Sweethearts a physical as well as narrative sequence similar to a flip-book; the book is organized back to front, like a text in a Semitic language, as Williams figured the flipbook effect worked best if Sweethearts were held in the left hand. At more than one point Williams shifts cleverly from wood-derivation to images, and the erotic encounter becomes particularly logo- or lightly porno- graphic.
front cover illustration: Coeurs Volants (1936) by Marcel Duchamp