Written by New School creative writing professor Sharon Mesmer, the review delves into the details that make this book utterly unique. Mesmer recognizes Meersman’s aim of providing a universal poetic language, and finds herself immersed:
As I began composing this review, I typed the word “language” incorrectly as “linguate”: tongue-shaped. According to the glossary of orchid terms—a lexicon based on the taxonomic works of Linnaeus, which I found, of course, online—the word refers to the shape of certain orchids. My “mistake” then seemed serendipitously appropriate to a discussion of Philip Meersman’s extraordinary (indeed, multi-linguate) concrete, visual, and sound poetry: his work is tongue-shaped, and shaped by tongues.
She also recognizes that previous attempts at universal communication and avant garde language movements have been criticized. Still, Mesmer notes:
“. . . might not striving to be free of limiting particulars via a universal communication—shaped by tongues describing a radical openness—be a worthy intention of poets once again? If this is Meersman’s goal, he has both quietly and loudly succeeded.
To find out more about Philip Meersman and THIS IS BELGIAN CHOCOLATE, including how to order your copy, click here.
To read Sharon Mesmer’s complete review, visit The Brooklyn Rail.