Translating a work of performance art or installation into book format can be a tricky format; will the piece lose the immediacy or the whimsy that propelled its artist to undertake the project in the first place? That Caroline Bergvall's Meddle English sacrifices neither can be seen as a testament to both her gifts as a poet-performer and our continued fascination with the language of Chaucer, Caxton, and Langland. Middle English is often cited as one of the first vernacular languages to be committed to paper, and this highlights a major goal of Bergvall's overarching project: the ability to recognize "the indicators and practices of a language in flux, of thought in making." This accounts for the impetus of the gallery works Bergvall has selected for this volume; in a gallery, projections would have been used to demonstrate the shifts between letters, words, and sounds as language evolved. None of the power is lost in a transition to book form. Her famous "Goan Atom" is reprinted in its entirety, with words and sometimes simply letters spanning several pages, bringing to mind both the thrill and the disjointed terror of someone discovering language for the first time. Bergvall seems to have the most fun, though, with actual poems that riff on canonized masters and their language choices. Her "Shorter Chaucer Tales" are punctuated with humor and hybridity between traditional Middle English and her own invention; it's hard to imagine anywhere in Chaucer's own corpus where you'd find the unsubtle description of "the dear vinolent drunken queer / painter protreytour / all along once ones / the hol hole of the hooly blessed" ("The Franker's Tale"). Where Chaucer may have used a pun, Bergvall creates a new word that reflects The Franker’s conflicted, drunken passions. The invention of "vinolent"--by inserting an "N" into "violent" to signify both The Franker's rage and his altered, alcoholic state--is just one of many markers that signify the fun Bergvall is having by studying, deconstructing, and even created language and form.