On Sinéad Morrissey

Ange Mlinko

Many years ago, I had a treasured book – a history of scientific ideas – and what I liked most about it were the illustrations of various models and contraptions. Ptolemaic spheres! Arabian water clocks! Alchemical cucurbits! I tried to account for my fascination with these objects. Was it artisanal appreciation? The visual appeal of things in an age of signals and circuits? Or was it a species of vanitas? I worried that my atavistic fondness for stanzas might be somehow related – a stanza being, in Joseph Brodsky’s words, ‘a self-generating device’, and one whose original mnemonic purpose has, for the most part, gone the way of the barouche.

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