Satin Semaphore

Artist Statement "Satin Semaphore"

Suzanne Zelazo

At the interstice of language and movement, intimacy and the longing of absence, between Eros and Thanatos, this kinetic poem underscores the interconnectivity of us all.

The poetic performance is an attempt to explore the flexibility and sensuality of language but also the narrative capacity of the body—its ability to inscribe and perform iterations of self. By examining the body as a series of lives lived, "a palimpsest of mourning" as the poem describes it, a layering that is at once a death and a rebirth, we might come to understand how to live more fully in a borderless moment. In the performance, the confines of gender as conventionally understood are removed, there is instead a sensualizing of the androgynous. In so doing the piece signals the possibility and fluidity of unconditional love.

In the work, the ephemerality of memory and performance overlap, fading in and out of focus. By contrast, the archival capacity of the body—the localizing power of a felt-sense as articulating thought and experience is underscored. When the speaker of the poem describes longing as "a loose handled photograph, edges peeling at the frame," memory and nostalgia are configured as erasure, elusive in the passage of time. By contrast, the visceral image inheres in our bodies even if the details don't. The beloved can change in time, in our memories, in their absence, but at some point, the subject of the photograph no longer matters –the subject enters the viewer as aspects of the beloved transform us, live on in us in the far-ranging aspects of self that constitute subjectivity.


Suzanne Zelazo is a writer, editor, and educator in the visual and literary arts, as well as in sport. She holds a PhD in English with a specialty in female modernism and avant-garde poetry and performance. Her projects seek to integrate creative

expression and the body. She is the author two collections of poetry, Lances All Alike (Coach House, 2018) and Parlance (Coach House, 2003), and editor of Janieta Eyre: Incarnations (Coach House, 2017). With Irene Gammel, she's the co-editor of Florine Stettheimer: New Directions in Multimodal Modernism (Book*Hug, 2019), Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto by Florine Stettheimer (BookThug, 2010)

and Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

(MIT Press, 2010).Artist Statement "Satin Semaphore"

Suzanne Zelazo