Nick Thurston

Price £2 (including postage)
Format Postcard poem; one-colour print on 250gsm card
Year 2009
Edition unlimited
Dimensions 155 x 105 mm

For this simple postcard poem Thurston has set one term within three equally-spaced pairs of inverted/floating commas. As an extension of the contemporary reduction of main-stream type standards in English, which conflates the straight quotation mark with the inverted/floating comma and confuses the American commitment to double quotes with the British flittering between single and double quotes, Thurston releases the spatial compression used by typographers to distinguish double quotation marks from two adjacent apostrophes and he refuses the false spacing used by typographers to separate a quotation mark from an adjacent apostrophe. Here, one term becomes pressured: is it a direct or indirect quotation?; is the term used ironically, cynically, doubtfully, or in a nontraditional or nonliteral sense?; is it claimed as a title or used as a nickname? Simultaneously, the tiering of three pairs presses the question ‘what usage or intention is set or sub-set within which?’. The composition suggests that the one floating term could have been extracted from within any number of additional layers of use or intent; or even taken from any one or many, real or unreal, spoken or written instantiation(s).

Catalysed by one simple typological move, contextualised by the poem’s title, in tension with the apostrophe as rhetorical device, and reflexively formalised in a traditionalistic print, these linguistic questions disclose some of the many unresolved questions about the ideological and political complexion of modern conservatism. What the British Conservative party mean by and as ‘conservative’ is sharply focussed as the question of this poem.”

—Simon Morris, poet & Founding Editor of information as material


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