The Avant-Garde Tradition in Literature

By Richard Kostelanetz | Go to book overview

pilot plan for concrete poetry

augusto de campos, décio pignatari,
haroldo de campos

concrete poetry: product of a critical evolution of forms. assuming that the historical cycle of verse (as formal-rhythmical unit) is closed, concrete poetry begins by being aware of graphic space as structural agent. qualified space: space-time structure instead of mere linear-temporistical development. hence the importance of the ideogram concept, either in its general sense of spatial or visual syntax, or in its special sense (fenollosa/pound) of method of composition based on direct — analogical, not logical-discursive — juxtaposition of elements. "il faut que notre intelligence s'habitue à comprendre synthético-idéographiquement au lieu de analytico-discursivement" (apollinaire). eisenstein: ideogram and montage.

forerunners: mallarmé (un coup de dés, 1897): the first qualitative jump: "subdivisions prismatiques de l'idée"; space ("blancs") and typographical devices as substantive elements of composition. pound (the cantos); ideogramic method. joyce (ulysses and finnegans wake): word-ideogram; organic interpenetration of time and space. cummings: atomization of words, physiognomical typography; expressionistic emphasis on space. apollinaire (calligrammes): the vision, rather than the praxis. futurism, dadaism: contributions to the life of the problem. in brazil: oswald de andrade ( 1890-1954): "in pills, minutes of poetry." joao cabral de melo neto (born 1920 — the engineer and psychology of composition plus anti-ode): direct speech, economy and functional architecture of verse.

concrete poetry: tension of word-things in space-time. dynamic structure: multiplicity of concomitant movements. Thus in music — by definition, an art of

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From noigandres 4, 1958. Reprinted by permission of Jon M. Tolman, translator.

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