On What Cannot Be Said
“Any writer worth his salt knows that what cannot be spoken is ultimately the thing worth speaking about; yet most often this humbling awareness is unsaid or covered up. There are some who have made it their business, however, to court failure and acknowledge defeat, to explore the impasse of words before silence. William Franke has created an anthology of such explorations, undertaken in poetry and prose, that stretches from Plato to the present. Whether the subject of discourse is All or Nothing does not matter: the struggle of speech to name the unnameable is the same. This ambitious two-volume undertaking demonstrates a preoccupation as old as Western civilization itself: the limits of language and the virtue of being at a loss for words. How long we have been raiding the Inarticulate!” —Peter S. Hawkins, Boston University
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