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a clipblog collecting blogged thoughts on visual poetry

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Keeping Visual Poetry from the Slopes of Parnassus

via Kasey Mohammad's lime tree:

Mike then writes, "[T]here are also limits to the power of intention and self-consciousness. The difference between a sonnet and some other kind of poem is more like the difference between a still life and a landscape than like the difference between some group or words being or not being a poem. I can call my painting of daisies in a vase on a table 'Landscape With Cows' and it doesn't make it a landscape, not even a bad landscape. At a coarser scale, I can call that painting a poem, even reproduce it in a book of poems, and it won't be a poem; nor would calling a poem a painting make it a painting. And I already know that I've just banished a fair amount of 'visual poetry' from the slopes of Parnassus. I'm comfortable with that."


Blogger K. Silem Mohammad said...

You know what? I've changed my mind. If I printed the painting in a book of poetry and called it a poem, it would be a poem.

3:23 AM, September 09, 2005

Blogger Geof Huth said...

Wait, you can't take it back. This is what Mike said! Anyway, there's a big difference between a mere painting and a painting that's a visual poem. And I'm not at all ready to claim that Mike is wrong!


4:26 PM, September 09, 2005

Blogger K. Silem Mohammad said...

Oops! Mike said it, not me--no wonder I wanted to take it back. :)

I guess I was thinking of the part of my post where I said:

"I fully agree with Mike, however, that the painting is not a poem--unless it in some way uses linguistic signifiers as its primary medium. Definitions have to start somewhere, and my definition of poetry includes the stipulation that it is something done chiefly with words, or at least with characters from something that can be used or recognized as a linguistic or quasi-linguistic code."

I'll take that back instead. Definitions don't have to start somewhere.

6:25 PM, September 13, 2005

Blogger Geof Huth said...

Yes, that's the ticket! And yours is a pretty broad definition of poetry there. Either way, no problem at my end: vispo and po are different beasts to me--for the most part.


6:39 PM, September 13, 2005


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