PARKER BRYANT Reviews
The Tapeworm Foundry by Darren Wershler
(House of Anansi Press, 2000)
Similar to the works of Duchamp, The Tapeworm Foundry presents Darren Wershler painting his own work of conceptual art in his fantastic book of proposals. The book is listed as a poetry but it is unlike any other work of this genre. The book contains sixty pages of micro-stories that can lead into any direction. Each sentence ends with the word “andor” before offering up the next proposal. The Tapeworm Foundry puts forward a series of proposals and ideas that the reader has the ability to carry out. The book is extremely conceptual as every sentence has the potential to start a journey. Although this is an unusually long work of poetry, it is a very fast read as the book is amusing and clever.
The Tapeworm Foundry has the potential to incite action within the readers which is why the book is intriguing. These proposals can be carried out by anyone, and was undertaken by a group of University of Pennsylvania students who decided to carry out some of these ridiculous tasks. However outrageous some of these proposals may seem, a few can be easily carried out by anyone. For instance, anyone can “dial a number at random and then finagle your way into reading poems to the person who answers”, but it would be much more difficult for an ordinary person to casually “type the words dylan thomas on a piece of paper but leave the paper on the roller and then submerge the entire typewriter in a solution of white alcohol calling the resulting object underwood milk.”
The only thing more challenging than carrying out this proposal is attempting to come up with a genre of this book. Although it is listed as poetry, the book is the perfect example of a conceptual book. The word “andor” takes the place of a period between sentences although it is the complete opposite of this mark of punctuation. The combination of “and” and “or” allows the reader to see the book in their own way, opening up the work to many different interpretations. You can never read this book the same way twice and that is the reason it will always be successful in getting across its message.
Parker Bryant is a student at Indian Springs School in Alabama.