Dick: A Vertical Elegy












Dick: A Vertical Elegy
by Sam Truitt.
Preface by Kimberly Lyons
ISBN 978-0-984-60766-2
Pub date: 2014.
76pp.
Design by Julie Harrison.
Cover image by Ken Knowlton.

Dick is a prose poem grounded in proprietary knowledge about President Kennedy’ assassination. The pith of that information is transmitted through Morse Code, the seemingly undifferentiated plane of which is broken up with stage directions from Shakespeare’s tragedies. Dick to that extent is a cryptogram containing information of inherent value burrowed within layers of cipher. In the nature of this book, its sealed condition mimics the secrecy surrounding acts undertaken in our name by our government and its official and unofficial outlying agencies. For while Dick may bore through and examine the entrails of JFK assassination lore, it is also a door through which those willing may enter and confront the pervasive machinations of “the best government money can buy,” in the soulless shadow of which we live today. The English text elaborates on these matters, among forays into fragmentary narrative, fugitive analysis, commentary on the text itself and poetic excursions.

"Sam Truitt's unusually sculptural poem is a lockbox of secrets. But each layer of concealment, spun out of language, insidious truths.  The use of Morse code and Shakespearian fragments provides a cool and elusive, but also disturbing, conceptual frame.  As in Hannah Weiner's Semaphore..... the act of coding both enacts and compresses distance Feminine speech and military speech, ciphers for American life in the mid-20th century, rattle around the edge of a grave or a bomb site.  DICK pulsates with violence and mystery"
- Chris Kraus