Jody Smiling reviews Jeffrey Pethybridge’s Striven, The Bright Treatise for the Rumpus:
In the end notes, Pethybridge indicates shortly after his brother’s death he was inspired by the late Cy Twombley’s retrospective Cycles and Seasons at Tate Modern in London. Twombley’s paintings have been described as hand drawn poems with moments of crudity that destroy the conventional distinction between writing and painting. Each line made, he said, was “the actual experience” of making the line, adding: “It does not illustrate. It is the sensation of its own realization.”
Similar to Twombley, the poems in Striven, the Bright Treatise arrive at thesis as much by visual statement as with actual words, but unlike Twombley there is a meticulous attention to wordings in Pethybridge’s work that seems more recherche than crude. Some poems are full page blocks of prose, some are scattered spaciously across pages and others more audacious as foldouts that blur the line between the act and art of writing and that of drawing.