John Zuern on Separation/Séparation in his review Where Are We Now?: Orienteering in the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2 for the Electronic Book Review (2011-11-09 ).
“The very first piece in the lineup, Annie Abrahams’ Flash poem “Separation/Séparation,” strikingly emphasizes both the bodily and geographic dimensions of literary creation and reception. Inspired by the author’s experience of repetitive-strain injury, the poem is designed to reinforce ergonomic guidelines aimed at preventing such injuries. Clicking too quickly or forcefully invokes the error message, “You don’t have the right attitude in front of your computer,” and the poem periodically pauses to lead the reader through stress-reduction exercises. While the central focus of Abrahams’ piece is the computer user’s fraught relationship with the machine, by providing English and French versions of the work, Abrahams, a Dutch artist working in France, also underscores the powerful but often under-recognized role of a language – “native,” “national,” “other,” “foreign” – in situating us in relation to whatever we read, even when that situation amounts to a separation due to our inability to comprehend. As do many of the texts in Volume 2, “Separation/Séparation” encodes the coordinates of its creation in the form of the different human languages it engages.”