A hollow action, a room held together by letters

Mallarmé had always been aware of the fact – unrecognised before and perhaps after him – that language is a system of highly complex spatial relations whose singularity neither ordinary geometric space nor the space of everyday life allows one to appreciate. Nothing is created and no discourse can be creative except through the preliminary exploration of the totally vacant region where language, before it is a set of given words, is a silent process of correspondences, or rhythmic scansion of life. Words exist only to signify the areas of correspondence, the space onto which they are projected and which, no sooner, signified, furls and unfurls, never being where it is. Poetic space, the space and ‘outcome’ of language, never exists like an object but is always spaced out and scattered.

Maurice Blanchot, ‘The Book to Come’, A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections About the Book & Writing, Jerome Rothenberg and Steven Clay (eds), Granary Books, New York, 2000

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