Thursday, June 7, 2012

Augusto de Campos, "Concrete Poetry: A Manifesto," trans. John Tolman

——concrete poetry begins by assuming a total responsibility before language: accepting the premise of the historical idiom as the indispensible nucleus of communication, it refuses to absorb words as mere indifferent vehicles, without life, without personality, without history——taboo-tombs in which convention insists on burying the idea.

——the concrete poet does not turn away from words, he does not glance at them obliquely: he goes directly to their center, in order to live and vivify their facticity.

——the concrete poet sees the word in itself——a magnetic field of possibilities——like a dynamic object, a live cell, a complete organism, with psycho-physico-chemical properties, touch antennae circulation heart: live.

——far from attempting to evade reality or to deceive it, concrete poetry is against self-debilitating introspection and simpleton simplistic realism. It intends to place itself before things, open, in a position of absolute realism.

——the old formal syllogistic-discursive foundation, strongly shaken at the beginning of the century, has served again as a prop for the ruins of a compromised poetic, an anachronistic hybrid with an atomic heart and a medieval cuirass.

——against perspectival syntactic organization where words sit like “corpses at a banquet,” concrete poetry offers a new sense of structure, capable of capturing without loss or regression the contemporaneous essence of poeticizable experience.

——mallarmé (un coup de dés——1897), joyce (finnegans wake), pound (cantos, ideogram), cummings, and on a secondary plane, Apollinaire (calligrammes) and the experimental attempts of the futurists-dadaists are at the root of the new poetic procedure which tends to impose itself on a conventional organization whose formal unity is verse (even free-).

——the concrete poem or ideogram becomes a relational field of functions.

——the poetic nucleus is no longer placed in evidence by the successive and linear chaining of verses but by a system of relationships and equilibriums between all parts of the poem.

——graphic-phonetic functions-relations (“factors of proximity and likeness”) and the substantive use of space as an element of composition maintain a simultaneous dialectic of eye and voice, which, allied with the ideogrammatic synthesis of meaning, creates a sentient “verbivocovisual” totality. In this way words and experience are juxtaposed in a tight phenomenological unit impossible before.


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