“Unravel” by Agnieszka Michalska

Screen capture from "Unravel" by Agnieszka Michalska. Background is image of a wheat field with a solitary word written in the middle on white text. Text: "UNRAVEL"
Open “Unravel” by Agnieszka Michalska

This scheduled poem plays like a silent video composed of a series of photographs of a wheat field in the background and kinetic language in the foreground. The text unfolds through a series of transformations of words by moving letters around into to form other words, and letter substitutions that create rapid word sequences. Timing is all in this poem, which could be organized internally by the speed at which its words are transformed and the means by which they change from one to the next. Notice the speed at which a sequence of four letter words change through letter substitution, forming a stream of associations, and the emphasis this gives to the pause at the end. Contrast this to the longer words that transform into other words by moving letters around, emphasizing each word and its meaning as moments with a thematic charge that punctuates the poem.

Allow this short poem to loop and read it a few times to allow its thematic and visual coherence to sink in.

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