Decoherence | Belinda Kremer
A quantum autobiography of “I,” DECOHERENCE tracks the unfolding, loss, and reconstitution of self, knowledge and object, and permeates the boundary—the artifice—between I and world. Using quantum physics, thermodynamics, and symbolic logic, Kremer wrenches us into the process of becoming. These pages are a visual analogue of the equation of being and “the continuous whiting-out / of not-being.” From broken symmetry and the Federation of Black Cowboys to the Sphinx and the freewheel, from our fears of losing an iPhone to humanity’s reduction “to 1,000 breeding pairs,” Kremer’s metaphors are as variegated as are her multiverses. DECOHERENCE speaks to the alienation of the 21st century soul and to the possibility of that soul’s reengagement. An incessant physical, geological, magnetic, astronomical, mathematical, and computational diction reminds us that we, and our known worlds, constantly decohere.
DECOHERENCE is one of those marvelous books that feels both familiar and like nothing I’ve ever read before. Classic couplets and incantatory repetitions share the page with abstract images and graphic symbols. Syntax is subverted and mathematical functions are applied to language. Naturalist descriptions of farmland and seascapes contrast with references to mini-malls, satellite dishes and Macbook Pros. The combined effect is grounding, unexpected, delightful, nostalgic, funny, immediate, and at times deeply lonely. Decoherence embodies the experience of reading poetry in the 21st century.
— Miranda McLeod
In DECOHERENCE, Belinda Kremer reminds us that vacuum and symmetry are simultaneous, that space is full with flitting particles. She traces their exchanges on scales large and small--from ballet to quantum mechanics, solar flares to flesh and bone. The book's richly modulated refrain reminds us that the self, and the frail foundations on which it stands, is part of—but not at the center of—an ever-expanding universe. An innovative and intrepid first book.
Decoherence stunned me with its linguistic power and the way its particular and peculiar pathos worked on me. Even those moments I didn't "get"—in the customary fashion one claims to “understand” something—I felt raw energy crawling up my spine and my brain dancing sideways—the way a good session of meditation simultaneously grounds and lifts me out of my narrow spectacle of attention. New associations and combinations of meaning emerged as I read and reread all evening, with great happiness and wonder.
Deft shifts of thought and playful synechdoche dance swiftly across these pages, nothing is static, not even a vacuum! (As in poetry, as in life.) Words angle and :: and // are themselves powerful units of meaning, simultaneously interrupting and restitching my attention, my comprehension, my naïve attempts to impose a narrative. The songs resist such clumsy intrusion. Here, the white space, the mark, the sign, every absence of sign, every linguistic gesture matters. And each reading an unraveling and gathering together again toward a new meaning, a new time, a new place.
Decoherence gave me glimpses of the lively process of becoming—through syntax, rhythm, and sound, I love this language that insists that we be here now. Such compassion for the literal, particular, and vulnerable world—as it is and as representation—for us all, caught up in the whirl of its making and unmaking. I warn you, you will be swept into Decoherence’s exuberant exploration of creating, of the experience of coming to know, of coming into being and unbeing—as Belinda Kremer reminds us, “being is the business.”
—K. E. Allen