Iconicity and intermediality in Charles Simic’s <i>Dime-Store Alchemy</i>
Charles Simic’s collection of prose poems <i>Dime-Store Alchemy</i>. <i>The Art of Joseph Cornell</i> (1992) pays homage to one of America’s greatest surrealist visual artists, whose work Simic reactivates in American cultural memory. Simic’s poems, which are presented as boxes to approximate Cornell’s visual techniques, have been investigated by literary scholars for their ekphrastic verbal means but the strategies of iconicity and intermediality have been neglected. Against the backdrop of recent debates about intermediality and iconicity in postmodern culture, the article sheds light on Simic’s highly self-reflexive intersemiotic translations and transformations and his intricate art of visual iconicity which foregrounds the iconic character of verbal signs. While trying to evoke visual and pictorial qualities via language, Simic’s poems, just like other ekphrastic texts which combine iconic and indexical functions of language, investigate the specificities of and tensions between verbal and visual media.