I have reviewed two recent publications by James Davies for Stride magazine. Published by Ma Bibliothèque in their Good Reader series, The Ten Superstrata of Stockport J. Middleton, performs a series of ten variations on the opening page of Philip K. Dick’s 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. The sequence Forty-Four Poems and a Volta, published by Red Ceilings Press, is composed of forty-five short texts, each centered on its page, each of two parts, the second of which is in parentheses.
Both of Davies’ sequences work at the business of language, at its use in naming or making distinctions, separating same from different, the operation of the word as label, the functioning of a textual instance as example or test. Here Wittgenstein’s language games, language as function and operation, meet scanning errors and search results, language as sortable or reordered matter. Two books to read both for the (fragmentary) narratives they tell, and for the (novel) ways they deploy the stuff of writing.