Review: S S Prasad’s 100 POEMS

100 Poems by S S Prasad | STD Pathasala 2008 | $10 or INR 100

Art interested in and interacting with technology, and the technology of its production, can pose some pretty intriguing questions. Bangalore-based poet S S Prasad, in his nanopoems, attempts to engage with new technologies of writing and with code as language. Collected in print in the book 100 Poems, these nanopoems were first written for the microchip as surface for inscription: Prasad, apart from being a poet, happens to be an engineer working for a prominent Silicon Valley company. Not all the poems ended up being nanoed (“nano” denotes one billionth of a meter), but even in print, even to the naked eye, they as a group assert their micro-aesthetic. What’s interesting is that their micro-ness is a response to Raul Zurita’s sky poems, which the back cover blurb tells us is an intertext whose scalar proportions Prasad inverted.

The poems, most of them in the binary language of zeroes and ones, are primarily concerned with  marking time on, or across, the page space. The binary digits operate as image, as sign, as object. They explore a visual poetics which functions sometimes in the concrete, and other times in the conceptual, mode.
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