Untitled (Disconsolate)

Nancy Holt
ca. 1970
Ink on paper
11 x 8 1/2 in. (27.9 x 21.6 cm)

A series of dreary words (all beginning with the letter D) and their mirrored spellings (all ending with D) create an inverted triangle, descending in size and culminating with a final letter D. The downward movement of the words in this concrete poem evokes a sinking sadness, while their phonic similarity cloaks the words in monotony.  The second to last line is simply, “Da;” an utterance of exasperation, perhaps, or the disintegration of verbal coherence, with the final line, “D”, reducing the ideas behind the words to a linguistic abstraction. Holt’s concrete poems provide an alternate view of language, subverting literal meaning in favor of conceptual inquiry. 

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