on reading Patrick Farmer’s ‘try i bark’

read try i bark, be drawn in and pushed out of its pages, to absorb the environment around you. be washed away from these words just like you can be washed away by an encounter with a landscape, soundscape, wordscape, all entangled and there is no way or reason why you should be singling out ‘the’ sound or stuck in a solemn pose of ‘all be still, i’m listening!’. listening here reads as reading it hears as seeing. nothing to decipher behind the words and the blanks on these unnumbered pages, no hidden codes to reveal an authentic or authored sense: sense exists as words are resonated surface by surface, layer by layer, bark by bark. “this book is to be read out loud and outside”, farmer says. delichon urbicon, apis melifera. speak out latin nomenclatures, broken rhythms: even when their form is recognisable their meaning shifts, they’re not signifiers but sounding signs, they echo and echo between knowing and doubt and knowing. speaks speaks speaks speaks. try and read out ‘try i’, try ‘i bark’ as sound, think ‘bark’ as sheath. try i bark elicits no synopsis or crucial points, the entire book is crucial and its flipside is in the ordinary, in passing: it exists in every reading as an encounter not only with environments, but with words. meet them on these pages and watch their shapes, sound them in reading, to the point of no longer feeling safe in knowing: farmer calls it “being part, not separate part”. try i bark performs the exhilarating and unsettling moment when you write or read, and realise that shapes, words, rhythms, sounds do not come from a blank sanitised within, but contaminate, affect and call you from elsewhere: you contain them and they you, and the pages are the edges of this mutual assimilation and response.

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