Style and tradition are fostered in Erín Moure’s newest book, whose full cover title, The Elem:ents (Nam:loz), instantly engages my Derridean sensibilities. It is a book that substantially dredges up the subjective experience and objective facts of her genealogy into a compelling synthesis of her self-identity, with a poignant focus on her father’s dementia through the lens of Derrida.
If, as the racially, physically and sexually-diverse figurants (at once villagers, stagehands, chorus, missives, loose Ohrwurms) in Erìn Moure’s Kapusta claim, “[i]t’s monuments that let us forget the dead,” this poem/play/cabaret investigates the question, what lets us remember?
Reminiscent of Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn in the book’s premise to return and explore not just the atrocity of war, but also the silence surrounding it—in Moure’s case, the silence of her mother—Kapusta drops a mute sock monkey named Malenka Dotchka or “little daughter” between family and history to open up new possibilities for language. Yes, the sock monkey speaks, but through whom or what is what matters—posing: Where can the voice be placed? How can it be impactful?