036.1: Matvei Yankelevich:: WANDA (a typewriter portrait) & MARISOL (a typewriter portrait) & The Same After Noon
4 October 2010
Sitting at the entrance to my apartment is a 1930 Underwood typewriter. It is the first thing that I see when I enter and the last thing I look at as I leave. Writing on the machine is a physical experience, one that takes force to strike the keys, emits a loud clackity-clack. The machine also requires maintenance, periodic cleaning and ribbon replacement. Using the typewriter is an announcement of effort and intention, a place in some sense where the mental world of language and poetry merges with the physical world that surrounds us. In Matvei Yankelevich's typewriter portraits, this physicality is instantly apparent: "Writing about you is / don’t say that – a little / intimidating..." What we find in these poems is an attempt at correspondence, the physical necessity of communicating coupled with the difficulty in expressing intimacy through the written word. Are these poems for us? Yankelevich's portraits both distance us and draw us into the intimate space of his correspondence. We don't know who Marisol and Wanda are, nor do we even know if they are real people or poetic creations. But these poems are also portraits, evincing the realization of public display. In our distancing, we are acknowledged as invited voyeurs.