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Visual Iconicity in Poetry: Replacing the Notion of “Visual Poetry”
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Film and Literature.
2016 (English)In: Orbis Litterarum, ISSN 0105-7510, E-ISSN 1600-0730, Vol. 71, no 6, 437-472 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article argues for the advantage of applying the analyticalperspective of “visual iconicity in poetry,” rather than trying todelimit the problematic category of “visual poetry,” which hasbeen understood to be a type of poetry that deviates fromnormal poetry in and through its visual characteristics (forinstance, poems looking like physical objects). However, visualityis actually an irrelevant feature for the specific character of“visual poetry”; it is iconicity that makes the difference. Whereasvisuality is a sensory trait, iconicity is a semiotic trait consistingof meaning created by way of resemblance, and these twoqualities must not be conflated.

In order to illustrate the line of reasoning, two rather differentpoems are analyzed. No scholars refer to Sylvia Plath’s “I AmVertical” as “visual,” but in addition to being visual this poempossesses a certain level of iconicity. Eugen Gomringer’s“Wind,” on the other hand, is a standard example of “visualpoetry.” Also this poem is certainly visual, even though it is notvisuality but a high degree of iconicity that sets it apart frompoetry such as Plath’s. In fact, what is generally but misleadinglyreferred to as “visual poetry” is characterized by extensiveiconicity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2016. Vol. 71, no 6, 437-472 p.
Keyword [en]
poetry, iconicity, visuality, intermediality, semiotics, Sylvia Plath, Eugen Gomringer
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-58280DOI: 10.1111/oli.12112ISI: 000387755800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-58280DiVA: diva2:1049390
Available from: 2016-11-24 Created: 2016-11-24 Last updated: 2016-12-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf