the double equal is a punctuation mark invented by Alice Fulton. in a 1997 interview with Alec Marsh, Fulton says,
I think it is a moment of transformation… It could also be a hinge; I see it that way too — the hinge that allows the door to open onto another realm. That threshold is transformative… I also think of the double equal as the sign of immersion. The single equal sign retains the separation of whatever is on either side. We know that separate is not equal. The double equal, as I said in one defining poem, ‘means more / than equal to = = within.’ It signals an absence of boundary, that two things are immersed in one another, as in metaphor. A simile is separated by ‘like’ while a metaphor is transformative; one thing actually becomes the other.
consider the double equal:
Fulton’s poem titled, “==”:
It might mean immersion, that sign I've used as title, the sign I call a bride after the recessive threads in lace == the stitches forming deferential space around the firm design. It's the unconsidered mortar between the silo's bricks == never admired when we admire the holdfast of the tiles (their copper of a robin's breast abstracted into flat). It's a seam made to show, the deckle edge == constructivist touch. The double equal that's nowhere to be found in math. The dash to the second power == dash to the max. It might make visible the acoustic signals of things about to flame. It might let thermal expansion be syntactical. Let it add stretch while staying reticent, unspoken as a comma. Don't get angry == protest == but a comma seems so natural, you don't see it when you read: it's gone to pure transparency. Yes but. The natural is what poetry contests. Why else the line == why stanza == why meter and the rest. Like wheels on snow that leave a wake == that tread in white without dilapidating mystery == hinging one phrase to the next == the brides. Thus wed == the sentence cannot tell whether it will end or melt or give way to the fabulous == the snow that is the mortar between winter's bricks == the wick that is the white between the ink
In her poem “Immersion”:
It’s sensual math
and untied railroad tracks = =
the ladder of gaps and lace
unlatched. It’s staples
in the page and the swimmer’s liquid lane.
Those sutures that dissolve into the self.
Her poem, “Fair Use” describes how the fabric felt is made. She uses felt as a metaphor for immersion, and can be represented by the ==. She writes,
… As felt
is formed by pressing
fibers till they can’t be wrenched apart,
nothing is separate, the entire planet
being an unexpected example.
Felt, Fulton continues, is “a fabric of entanglement = = / my consciousness felted with yours… It is not metaphorical… what happens to others happens to me”.
the double equal is my very favorite punctuation mark. this is a place in which things and people and ideas are felted together.Advertisements