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Circling The Start

By Dixie Denman Junius

Dixie Denman Junius’s Circling the Start, the first volume in the Anhinga Visual Poetry Series, includes digital pieces and analog works in ink and watercolor. Though nominally divided into ensos and asemic works, the categories blur in this book.

Unleashed from the line, Junius’s circles pulse with shifting meaning. “Second Knowing” and “Unexpected Delight” gather and release strength from their dark centers in a slow burst of watercolor radiating through fine lines of contrasting colors.



Yet the interplay of primary and secondary hues in the latter suggests a dynamism that contrasts with the reticence and stasis of the former’s ochre, taupe, and petrol tones. In contrast, “Poem to the Infinite I” and “Wordless Poem (I–III)” read as illustrations—legible or illegible—of actual scripts. Ironically, the abstract, descriptive work titles undercut rather than support these visual poems, which are strongest when wholly uncoupled from language.

In this book, the Zen enso becomes capacious. Traditionally painted in a single brushstroke, the symbol offers an apostrophizing ‘o’ with no subject but only the energy of the exclamation. It is an energy that modulates across the book, further complicated by the use of digital “glitches” to create frayed effects. The audience may trace a progression from the gestural and asemic to the expressive and pictorial, yielding an experience that oscillates between viewing and reading.

Reviewed By Sylee Gore
Cover of Circling The Start by Dixie Denman Junius
Publisher Anhinga Press
Pages 76
Date November 10, 2023
Price $28.00