Stutter, Chew, Stop: Three Mandible Modes in the Poetry of Jordan Scott


Scholar and artist Brandon LaBelle (2014) positions the mouth as an integral “contact zone where language performs as a powerful agent” that brings forth the voice to locate the vocalizing subject as an autonomous being within a network of human, posthuman, and nonhuman assemblages. It is a complex site wherein language is both produced and obscured by its many bodily modalities—stuttering, speaking, chewing, biting, stopping, and so on. Thus, the mouth is undeniably a vital apparatus for meaning-making. The mouth is prominently featured in the oeuvre of Canadian poet Jordan Scott, whose works present formidable case studies for investigating the significance of mouth-based meaning-making. Scott’s work engages the powers of mouthing and, in particular, presents readers with compelling contiguity between mouth and ecology. Pursuant of these topics, this article focuses on three of Scott’s poetic texts to examine the mouth as it manifests and is mobilized within his poetry, with a particular interest in how he places language under the pressure of external grammars to challenge the power dynamics of linguistic communication and the ways that environmental considerations and verbal expressivity shape one another.

This article “Stutter, Chew, Stop: Three Mandible Modes in the Poetry of Jordan Scott” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 248 (2022): 52-73.

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