Reading Visual Poetry
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.
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