>< DRAMATIS PERSONAE, Universal Storyline 1 (paper)
Size: 126 pages, 55 colour pages
Price: DKK 178 (+ shipping DKK 40)
>< DRAMATIS PERSONAE, Universal Storyline 1 (iBooks)
Publisher: Se, sne!
Size: 134 pages, 55 pages calligraphed by hand
Price: DKK 89 (iTunes Store)
>< DRAMATIS PERSONAE, Universal Storyline 1 is a book of 55 stories without words fousing on the “meeting” by the use of just one character – the symbol > – mirrored, turned, joined, broken.
The book was 10 years in the making. The Danish Arts Council has supported the future exploration of this language, which will become < Universal Storyline 2 og 3
Reviews in the ebook:
— Mikael Josephsen, poet and author, Denmark
Kenneth Krabat is one of the bad boys of the literary environment and often overlooked in mainstream literature by not readily conforming to category. Now yet another strange book of his making is published; a book without words, but with peculiar characters dancing to form different patterns on all pages. In Latin “Dramatis Personae” means “people in a play” – like the poet Robert Browning’s masterpiece of the same title. And to my eyes Kenneth Krabat’s book seems mostly related to the characters in a play.
Wordlessness fuels all poetry, as the poem is always trying to say what cannot be said in plain language; the poet need invent a language for his intent.
This is what Kenneth Krabat has done here with only a single character – dancing, acting out a language outside of convention. The books poetry is of course more an experiment of form than rich in content – if you disregard the genius of omitting the tongue to shape the language. Throughout time many have tried similar experiments, from sending publishers books of blank pages, to shaping poems in the form of math equations. But rarely with such an excellent outcome as in this book, which makes you think of Chinese or Japanese haiku poetry.
What we really see here, as we browse these pictures, wondering about the beautiful patterns formed by this recumbant ‘v’, is pictorial art. Close scrutiny of the patterns makes you realise that it must have taken equally long time to write as a traditional volume of poetry – the “alphabet” placed with great care to make it seem to fall as if randomly tossed, whilst actually in the assumption of an anarchic order. Perfect disorder one might call it, as the great poet Birgitte Krogsbøll latest collection of poems is called.
Physics, atoms and neutrons, and the pairing of cells, also come to mind. So, as it is usual with Kenneth Krabat, we are taken on a tour out into the universe and all the way down into the smallest particles constituting all the things visible to our eyes. These patterns and images are a genuine remedy if your brain is tired of words and in need of a kind of visual music instead. I enjoy it more and more, finding it it an increasing depth, almost like a meditation.
Kenneth Krabat is one of our foremost poets, and this book is only further proof of his uniqueness. I am happy to have discovered his body of work, which I fell seriously in love with by way of the poetry collection “elskede elskede” (“beloved beloved”) from 2003.
The present wordless collection becomes even stronger knowing that the actual tongue of the poet was threatened by cancer in 2014. But now we know that even without audible language he can tell you about the great within the small, as only a true visionary can. He is an artist whose next work you can never predict; only that it will be well thought through, thoroughly crafted and truly original.
— Metta Carter, musician, performance artist, Denmark:
In a sea of noisy opinions, expressions and words silence, contemplation and a simple textural beauty find their way out through art in this different and aesthetic book. A wordless explanation to the formations, relations and movements of life observed from above, from within by an eagle’s eye’s view.
Inspired by Asia’s simple idiom of shapes, Kenneth reproduces form with a Nordic colour scheme and a symphonic naturalness in colour as well as composition of the whole.
Through 55 iterations of “the meeting” the many patterns are broken down to the simplicity of repetition by way of a single form, which in repetition and reflection comprises the essence of life.
I bought 2 copies and presented “>< Dramatis Personae, Universal Storyline 1” to my son like this (he is 20): “Should you ever come to doubt who you are in the world and in your relationships, open this book anywhere to see if you can’t find yourself and your relations right there.”
This unique book provides room for the making of individual stories, understanding and interpretation of the many scenes and relations we finds ourselves in throughout our lives, as well as an opportunity to depict the meeting of any two (and more) of anything, which directly causes our reality to come into being.
I can strongly recommend DRAMATIS PERSONAE to shapers of form and to existentialists in possession of a sense of the esoteric, philosopy, or the shaping and beauty of life.