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.
Meersman is a Belgian-born poet and performer with an international reputation. His oracular work, often written in several languages, both partakes of and reinvents the languages with which he has come into contact via a personal touchstone of radical openness that grants readers access as co-creators/translators. Instead of a Table of Contents, Meersman supplies a “Writer’s Cut” with no page numbers, suggesting that one meander around for a while.