Reading Visual Poetry
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Visual poetry can be defined as poetry that is meant to be seen. Combining painting and poetry, it attempts to synthesize the principles underlying each discipline. Visual poems are immediately recognizable by their refusal to adhere to a rectilinear grid and by their tendency to flout their plasticity. In contrast to traditional poetry, they are conceived not only as literary works but also as works of art. Although they continue to provide visual cues that aid in deciphering the text, they function simultaneously as visual compositions. Whether the visual elements form a rudimentary pattern or whether they constitute a highly sophisticated design, they transform the poem into a picture. Reading Visual Poetry examines works created in Spain, Latin America, France, Italy, Brazil, and the United States. While it attempts to recreate the historical and cultural context surrounding each of the works in question, it is conceived primarily as a series of readings-or rather as a series of readings about reading. This book seeks to interpret a number of poems, which, despite their apparent simplicity, can be difficult to decipher. It explores the process of interpretation itself, which, like the compositions, can be surprisingly complex.
down the telephone wires’ stave Forming colorless notes on the black wires Sometimes they fall and your finger lingers on the piano key I don’t know if it is your voice or the clouds singing] 3 / HISPANO-AMERICAN POETRY 53 Although “Lluvia” is divided into three sections, these are linked together by their common imagery, thematics, and subject matter. The first stanza compares the raindrops to musical notes, the sound of tapping, and tears. The second establishes a parallel between the
rhyme scheme. In the first column, “vas” rhymes with “paz,” “pimente” with “fuente,” and “leve” with “llueve,” in addition to numerous half rhymes. However, the second column is much less ambitious: only “son” rhymes with “con.” Novo evidently grew tired of looking for words with the right length and the right sound. As generations of writers discovered before him, this is one of the disadvantages of using solid forms. All too frequently the poet is forced to adopt desperate measures. Novo omits
choose such huge letters for the poem’s title? And why are they arranged to form a rectangle? All of a sudden, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. The title represents Kamerlengo Castle, constructed by the Venetians in the fifteenth century. The remainder of the poem depicts Trogir’s main street, which stretches from the castle to the other side of the town. Rising over the middle of Trogir is St. Mark’s Tower, which also dates from the fifteenth century. While “VOLO SU TRAÚ”
flew the entire distance in military formation. Balbo performed a similar exploit two and a half years later, commanding twenty-four seaplanes on a round-trip flight to Chicago, where he received a hero’s welcome. Chicago named a street after him, New York held a ticker-tape parade in his honor, and President Roosevelt invited him to lunch. As a result of this adventure, the expression “balbo” was coined in Italian to describe a large formation of aircraft.9 Since “AEROPLANI” is composed entirely
e t e r r emo t o r o r me t r o r t o t e rmo m m e mo t o r t mo t o r r t o r t o o mo r t o r o 126 READING VISUAL POETRY [ball of yarn / egg / egg / ball of yarn / egg / egg // sun / letter / star / spells out / sun / letter / star / spells out // fear / death / earthquake / meter / term / fear / death / earthquake / meter / term // motive / motive / unjust / death / motive / motive / unjust / death] One thing is clear at first glance: the composition represents a stunning achievement.