Friday, March 2, 2018

Hinge by the Slice (Heller Levinson) -- previously published on Talisman Magazine

I had the pleasure of corresponding with Heller Levinson for several years now.  We met through the Press ( and I quickly became fascinated with hinge theory.  Over the years I have added my admittedly less experimental contributions to the rapidly expanding hinge theory library of work, as well as inspired a hinge myself ("the corner of _____ and ____") of which I am extremely honored.  So from time to time when Heller sends hinge theory updates, I'll be posting them here as well for anyone who is interested.  This is one of the latest -- previously published on Talisman Magazine.  Hope it inspires some of you out there.  It sure did me!

Heller Levinson

Hinge By The Slice

The suggestion that I write a short summary of Hinge Theory threw me into a tailspin.  The thought of shortening an ever-expanding & en-fleshing behaviorism was anathema.  Then the idea occurred that perhaps by indicating how HT resists shrivellization/ contraction/ summarization, I could approach summarization.

Language is aLive.  This is foundational to HT.  It should be asked:  not what HT Is, but how it beHaves.  Language as a living organism is continuously interactive with other organisms breeding extensively & engendering complementarity.  Dr. Mary Newell puts it this way:  “The connectivities of Hinge Theory introduce an intentional and generative biasing, like a pool table with all the balls commotioning and someone lifting the pool table slightly so all that activity is directed yet responsive to unpredicted collisions, meanderings, & swerve.  (With the additional image that new balls are being added all the time as the pool table itself enlarges).”

Hinge does not purport to bring anything new to the proverbial ‘table.’  Rather it seeks to restore Language’s Original Primal Fire.  To ignite the word, Hinge employs the module  which is a word or a configuration of words that serves to spring (to unleash, to unmoor) the subject into a climate of free fall & unpredictability.  & by free fall we mean that we are liberating the subject[1]/word from its normative, conventional context & tossing it into question, tumbling it deconditioned into the void.  A few of the modules in use are:  with, smelling, the road to ____ road, in the ___ of ____, fecundating rotational clusters, fusion reconnoiters, & the most recent, tenebraed, catalyzes an entire book.  When word inosculates/alchemizes word,[2] the components never lock into place nor do they dissolve into a random turbulence; they both formulate & unravel simultaneously, emblazoned with the Living-Hood of continuous Motility.  The frisson (the rub) of word against word scatters the ‘particle’ multi-directionally.[3]Partnering with the ‘scatter’ is the ‘gather,’ a recombinatory process regrouping the components in correspondence with vibrational adhesion (a form of viscous bonding).

Each particle/subject gathers into cohesions, a grouping, what Hinge terms the ‘application,’ formerly the ‘poem.’  This gathering should be seen as an alighting, a momentary pause, tensiled to soar again at the slightest provocation.[4]

The word, by undergoing a multitude of these Modular Chamberings, is in an ongoing state of emboldening/ densification/ complementarity/ & extensionality.  For example, “Mermaid” has undergone over 45 applications, swiveling in the alterior ethers of:  “with mermaid,” “the road to mermaid road,” “smelling mermaid,” “in the purse of mermaid,” “tenebraed to mermaid,” to cite just a few.  Each application both creates its own Mermaid Personality (ether) & interacts/impacts with the other applications.  The Particle is always in transition, always on the road to developmental road, shimmering to fulfillment in compounding complementary refractions.  Hinge Theory clashes against the current cult of quick-click-reduce, or, of what I like to term the lexiconically static.  The Lexicon is a logos abuser, the enemy of the vigorous & dynamic; it is, indeed, a Dynamic Inhibitor.

Case in point:  in Webster’s Third, “Melancholia” & its variations take up about 4 inches of definition whereas Melancholia:  Hinge as Innominate Limina[5]  employs 99 pages to begin the investigation (& I term this endeavor to “investigate” an urge to “mobilize” the logos rather than “staticize” it).  & these 99 pages should be viewed as just that -- a prelude, an introduction, a wind-up to ignite.   There is no such thing as a finish to these explorations, no endings, … they are not sequenced or neatly arranged alphabetically, -- the logos is Feral & Un-Cageable, Reproductive & Lusty.
I have recently wondered how our language (the logos) would look/fare without the dictionary (void of reference).  What would the “Unmoored” word (the Wild/Feral Logos) look like if it were free to roam, migrate, hybridize.
To view the Inferential replace the Referential.

These comments initiate an ongoing exploration of Hinge Theory.  But when asked to explain Hinge Theory, the proper response would be the same as to someone who asked you what the sky looks like, -- you would usher them outside, point upward, & say “Look.”  Look, then, to the works themselves.

Further Reading


Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press)
from stone this running (Black Widow Press)
Wrack Lariat (Black Widow Press)
Hinge Trio (La Alameda Press)
Melancholia:  Hinge as Innominate Limina (McNally Jackson)
tenebraed (Black Widow Press)

Interviews (read chronologically):

“No Rust on These Hinges – A Heller Levinson Interview”
The Jivin’ Ladybug

“So Much Depends on the Hinge:  Heller Levinson”
The Jivin’ Ladybug

“Ephesus Glom: An Interview with Heller Levinson, Part 1” by Jonathan Mulcahy-King, was initially published in X-Peri, January, 2018 

“The Hinge Manual”  Howling Dog Press

[1] HT terms the subject being investigated the ‘particle.’
[2] At the level of Hinge Production, each word insists on its word associates.  In this sense, the practice of the author is to detect (to identify) the reproductive impulses inherent in the word being witnessed.
[3] For example, in the most recent volume, tenebraed, the module ‘tenebraed to lamentation’ undergoes three mutations or treatments.
[4] The provocation here would refer to Modular Ignition.
[5] Melancholia:  Hinge as Innominate Limina (McNally Jackson, 2016) exemplifies a multi-teamed approach to densify the ‘particle.’  Not only are we employing multiple Modules, but we are also treating/investigating  the term from multiple disciplines, i.e., Drawing, Essay, Criticism, Poetry.  Melancholia: represents the second multi-participatory Hinge Event following Hinge Trio (La Alameda Press).

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