Jim Rosenberg’s Diagram Series 5 is a continuation of his life-long experimentation with diagram poetry. Adapting the concept of tone clusters from sound and music theory, Rosenberg creates a hyper-textual poem of word clusters arranged in a polylinear structure. Diagram Series 5 is interactive: as the reader moves the curser over the word clusters, the clusters separate into non-semantic arrangement of words that do not convey semantic meaning. Juxtaposition and polylinear structure convey “simultaneity of thought” as opposed to a sequential unfolding that is customary in the conventional sentence.
Rosenberg frees his reader from the “sticky gooey mess of obligations” associated with concrete poetry; the reader does not extract meaning from the text based on any normative discourse attached to singular words or phrases. The reader is affected by Rosenberg’s poetry through a process that he refers to as “energy transaction”. This is similar to the impact tone clusters have on its listener though musical notes have no intrinsic meaning, they have the capacity to produce conscious and unconscious effects on the listener. The same can be said of the word clusters in Diagram Series 5. While conventional analysis of traditional syntax may search for meaning, the reader of Rosenberg’s text should more importantly ask the question: “is it energetic?”
Cody Malacko was a student of Dr. Kiki Benzon for a course in Contemporary Fiction taught at the University of Lethbridge, Canada during the Winter term of 2011.
"An Interview on Poetics."Interview by Sandy Baldwin. Feb. 2003. Web. 28 Feb. 2011.