First Poem: "987"
Second Poem: "123"
Third Poem: "645"
Idea Behind Asparagus: All art is predominantly formal, and the
more formal the art form, the more likely that it will be emotionally moving. Music, of
course, is the obvious example of this. Of all the art forms it is the most purely formal,
the most abstract, and yet it is the most emotional in effect, at least for most people.
Mathematics also is a field which, for the initiated, offers extremely subtle but
exquisite emotional pleasures. It would seem, thus, that by removing the concrete image
form a poem and replacing it with the atom of mathematical abstraction (ie. the number),
one might be able to create very emotional musical/mathematical "poems". The
poems would naturally be predominately aural and best appreciated when heard read aloud.
(In reading Asparagus one should enunciate each number clearly, pause for the
"-" the same way one would in reading a telephone number, and give the
line-breaks their natural due.) Of course this is na´ve and doesn't work. But thinking
about exactly why it doesn't work is very fruitful. Also, it should be noted that some of
the poems generated this way (or "number sequences" if the term "poem"
offends anyone's sensibility) do offer considerable intellectual (if not emotional)
stimulation. The three poems of Asparagus do have a logic, both a mathematical logic and
an aesthetic logic; the numbers are not by any means random. This suggests that something
constructed like the pieces of Asparagus is really a form of purer-than-pure mathematics:
a work raising the supposedly pure mathematics of numerical sequence to the truly pure
(ie. useless) level of abstract art. However this garden could easily be overworked.
Asparagus is best in spring, most tender and delectable.
(Back to contents)