Sonosyntactics introduces the reader to over forty-five years of Paul Dutton’s diverse and inventive poetry, ranging from lyrics, prose poems, and visual work to performance texts and scores. Perhaps best known for his acclaimed solo sound performances and his contributions to the iconic sound poetry group The Four Horsemen, Dutton is a surprising, witty, sensitive, and innovative explorer of language and of the human. This volume gathers a representative selection of his most significant and characteristic poetry together with a generous selection of uncollected new work.
Sonosyntactics demonstrates Dutton’s willingness to (re)invent and stretch language and to listen for new possibilities while at the same time engaging with his perennial concerns—love, sex, music, time, thought, humour, the materiality of language, and poetry itself.
Gary Barwin’s introduction outlines the major subjects and techniques of Dutton’s poetry: an intricate weaving of thought and language, sound and emotion, sound and sense, and the unfolding of a text through the logic of language play such as puns, paradoxes, ambiguity, and sound relations. In an afterword by Dutton himself, the poet insightfully lays out the terms of his engagement with the materiality—both visual and aural—of language, often beyond the purely recountable, representational, or depictive.