JF Ptak Science Books A catalog entry for the Museum of Imaginary and Impossible Things
Poetry from Found-Wordist and Book Pathologist Mr. Ignatio Norme
[This description appears on pages 67-69 of the guide to the G.R. "Joe" Gebors Museum of the Imaginary and the Impossible.* The physical location of the collection is just south of Savannah on Tybee Island, Georgia.]
- Catalogue #156.2 Received by Museum: 19 September 2006. Originator: Mr. Ignatio Norme [b. Boston, Mass, 1923; d. Hyannis, 25 January 1988.]
Ignatio Norme, Found-Wordist and Page Number Collector (Boston, Mass.; 1923-1988)
The man who found obscure phi-related connectivity between random word placement, page number and the poetic ideal.
Mr. Norme’s work first came to the attention of the literati in 1952 when Dallas Headman of Case Western described it as “a unique approach to approaching uniqueness”; this would be the only phrase ever used to evaluate Norme’s efforts in every review from 1922 to 1975, when his work stopped being noticed. In a spectacularly prolific career Mr. Norme produced some 8,000 poems, most of which were produced on broadside sheets of paper or on large pieces of wood. The combination of the materials of production and the many tens of thousands of books led to Mr. Norme’s house being an internal castle, letting in neither visitor nor light, a friendly singularity for his pursuit. As his utilities and taxes were paid decades in advance, Mr. Norme’s death, and the discovery of his corpse, was not discovered until 2005, seventeen years after his passing.
According to his unpaginated journals, Mr. Norme’s pattern of poetic creativity and discovery involved removing all page numbers from the book he was reading and then choose a number of the “poem lugs” at random. He would then reverse the number, go to that page of the book, and then add the page number and go to that line of the book, and tear out the number of words as indicated by the page numbers ending numeral. The bits would then be assembled, and the page numbers glued to the walls of his house. (We estimate that there were some 60 million page numbers glued to all surfaces of Mr. Morme’s home. The house itself has been purchased by the Museum of American Art, a full room of which will be on display in that museum’s Outsider Art collection in the Henry Darger wing.)
Mr. Norme found poetry everywhere he found it, seeing in the simplest verb the most compound noun; even when the poetry seemed not to find an external logical sensate, the internal phi-correlated word relations played in the mind behind all phases of knowledge, an unheard neuro-music that encapsulated the idea of unknown “correctness” in the vision of the poem.