Chiasmus is a collaboration between visual artist Enrico Riley and poet Zack Finch. The repetitions and reversals between Riley’s drawings and Finch’s poems create pieces that are not ekphrastic—or reverse-ekphrastic—but created, and experienced, in tandem. As one poem puts it: “As if this drifts between fates, between bodies, languages not / strangers to one another, echoing originals…”
Riley’s flint-edged abstractions on graph-paper backdrops float like the arrowheads and potsherds of contemporary signage; a star chart whose reference is mysterious. Sometimes translating the adjacent poem’s shape, or, as in “The Signal,” blipping across the page like a Morse Code rendering, the images are always evocative. Finch’s carefully-hewn poems are frequently polyvocal and somehow transmitted—“As night with its lit signs might, its occasional skeet of sound: the pluck of yes, from the sea of ex, at the fringes of intention…” These constellations of astoundingly turned (and tuned) phrases demand reading and rereading.
Finch and Riley both teach at Dartmouth College. Zack earned his MFA from Warren Wilson College and his Phd in the poetics program at SUNY-Buffalo. His poetry and criticism has appeared in such journals as Boston Review, Fence, Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, Jacket, Tin House, and Poetry. Enrico earned his MFA at Yale and has been the subject of several solo exhibitions, as well as the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship (among many other honors).
Chiasmus is made possible in part by the Cornell Council for the Arts.