Something that surprises me about “Long Live the Vortex!” and “Manifesto” in Blast is the violent style.  Blast even declares its mission to create “an avenue for all those vivid and violent ideas,” and the intensity of its works provides such an avenue.  The structure creates a staccato rhythm by dividing the works into many sections and many lines, some composed of only a single word.  This structure, the bold-face type, all caps, and exclamation marks form the intense style.  Such a violent style is unexpected for a pre-war piece considering that real violence is on the horizon.   One wonders if Blast would have published a calmer manifesto had it been written after WWI.

Though “Manifesto” blasts many things, it also blesses many things.  Furthermore, the same things blasted are later blessed which makes the text confusing to read.  The divisive structure lends to the confusion, separating the text into sections and forming columns to show the differing ideas about the same things.  The contradictions of “Manifesto” perhaps fulfill the purpose set out in “Long Live the Vortex!” that Blast “stand(s) for the Reality of the Present.”  In reality, nothing is simply good or bad but both.  Even in using the words “BLESS” and “BLAST” which look similar, “Manifesto” suggests that the two terms, though opposite in meaning, go together since everything can be blessed and blasted.


One thought on “Blast

  1. I like your visual reading of the two words BLESS and BLAST as a way of highlighting the ambiguity the “Manifesto” is trying to express. The synthesis of visual and verbal is a core feature of the Vorticist (and Imagist) aesthetic.

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