This Theater is a Strange Hole: Mac Wellman's Poetics of Apparence
Abstract

Abstract:

Mac Wellman's theater is filled by a weird array of voices that are neither strictly human, nor even strictly material. These pseudosolid voices map a topological obsession with holes, hollows, and the filling up of space by emptiness. This essay explores Wellman's theater as a "strange hole," where hollow spaces become receivers, openings for something unfamiliar to happen in our thinking, an event Wellman calls "apparence." In The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, the extraordinary prevalence of holes bespeaks an intensification of a philosophical strand in his writing: a ceremonial concern with a weirdness that is wild, a weirdness gone feral in math-fictional space. This essay explores his strategies for writing us into these registers of thinking by examining two kinds of holes. The first is a "hole poetics": the deployment of holey strategies in the poetic line. This holed line functions as both a preparation for thinking beyond the already-known, and as a scalar, fractal iteration of the topography of this beyond-space which is the second hole, a ceremonial, nasty, terrifying place that Wellman calls "Hoole's Hole," where the non-Aristotelian, non-Euclidian event of apparence happens.