Although avant-garde poetic practices have been understood historically in terms of producing disjunction, rupture, and shock in public consciousness,recent critical accounts of vanguard poetry have focused on its affirmative potential to create communities, empower the disenfranchised, and develop new literacies. Situating the work of Ed Roberson within this latter framework,the article argues that his innovative poetry responds to the contemporary crisis in the readability of history by proposing new relations among trauma, history, and literacy. Developing strategies of the visual sign and the aural fragment in order to investigate the “templet noise / between each word,” Roberson's poems attempt to refigure the visual practices of reading and writing in ways that can bring unclaimed experiences and traumatic histories into public, collective memory. Although his work provides an avant-gardiste assault on conventional literacy as a mode of knowing,Roberson's historical revisionism requires that he also offer new“literacies of the interval.”

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