Creative Wordshops Newsleter May 2021
The architecture of text
Dear seeker of words and images
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran (Coleridge)
Imagine entering a book as if a building, where the writer is the architect. Anne Michael’s depiction of an architect’s design in The Winter Vault, offers such a metaphor:
Sometimes… when I’m looking at a building, I feel I know the architect’s mind…. there are choices that strike me as so achingly personal, and there they are in stone and glass, for anyone to see . . . a man’s mind laid bare in the positioning of each doorway and window, in the geometric relationship between windows and walls, in the relation between the musculature of a building to its skeleton, the consideration of how a man might feel, placing his chair here or there in a room following the light…
Sometimes it seems as if the architect had full knowledge of these thousand other details in his design, not just the different kinds of light possible across a stone facade, or across the floor, or filling the crevices of an ornament, but as if he knew just how the curtains would blow into the room through the open window and cause just that particular shadow and turn a certain page of a certain book at just that moment of the story.
And what of architect poets? Michelangelo, sculptor, painter, engineer – less known as architect and poet. At 74 he took over as architect for St. Peter’s Basilica transforming the western end and dome.