Friday, October 26, 2007


W H A T I S V I S U A L P O E T R Y ? Visual poetry stresses the look of the poem on the page. It can include text only, text and imagery of all sorts, or imagery only, but is intended to be viewed primarily within a literary arts context. To me, it points out a continuum of expression between the literary and visual arts: each use vision and process visual information in a different way. The eye takes in, and the brain processes, visual imagery in no certain order, so the image, while taken in piece by piece, forms more of a gestalt in the perceiving mind, which then forms associations and chains of meaning from that gestalt. The situation is very different when reading a text. Reading is a more linear, step by step process, and the range of meanings much more precise, and thus more circumscribed (while still being vast of course), than is the case for visual imagery. Visual poetry accentuates the flicker of the mind moving between these two modes of receiving and processing visual information. This flickering juxtaposition opens out opportunities for works to evoke a greater range of associations and meanings in the experience of their reader/viewers.

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