Literature, Arts and Media 2017-18






... DI CHI


concrete poetry and visual poetry


Eugen Gomringer in 1968 says


“the new poem is simple and can be perceived visually as a whole as well as in its parts. It becomes an object to be both seen and used; an object containing thought but made comcrete through play-activity, its concern is with brevity and conciseness. It is memorable and imprints itself upon the mind as a picture. Its objective element of play is useful to modern man, whom the poet helps through his special gift for this kind of play-activity. (…) The constellation is an arrangement, and at the same time a play-area of fixed dimensions. The constellation is ordered by the pot. He determines the play-area, the fields or force and suggests its possibilities. The reader, the new reader, grasps the idea of play, and joins in. (…) The Constellation is an invitation. [E. Gomringer, From Line to Consellation]


Rosemarie Waldrop:

“ we do not usually see word, we read them, which is to say we look through them at their significance, their contents. Concrete poetry is first of all a revolt against this transparency of the word (…). Concrete poetry makes the sound and shape of words its explicit field of investigation (…). Further, it stresses the visual side which is neglected even in the ‘sound and sense’ awareness of ordinary poetry (as well as in the oral bias of most linguistis).
This does not mean that concrete poets want to divorce the physical aspects of the word from its meaning …. Words are not colors or lines: their semantic dimension is an integral part of them” (R. Waldrop, A Basis of Concrete Poetry, 1982).







“the black signs tell what the white space means but is incapable of conveying without the added word(s). Semantically, silence signifies what the space is and the word is not.” (Gumpel, Concrete Poetry from East and West Germany)



Safiye Can, Butterfly, “es ist vergänglich” (nothing lasts forever)




Guillaume Apollinaire’s calligrammatic poetry





Hypertext: definitions

Così scrive Micheal Joyce:

Our program, Storyspace, originated as an attempt to develop a text-processing tool to enable writers of interactive
presentations to exploit multiplicities. Storyspace depends on a decisional order rather than a fixed order of presenting material. (…) A decisional order, however, may be thought of as a series of locales, some of which are linked by linear progression or
argument, but with others that are determined by allusiveness, resemblance, evocation, or unexplained or “intuitive” parallels determined as often by the author as by the reader. (…) Not long after I first met Stuart Moulthrop, I remember asking him, in all seriousness, “Do you ever find yourself wanting to press the words on a page of a book you’re reading to see what’s behind them?
” [M. Joyce, Of Two Minds. Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics, The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor (Michigan) 1998,
p. 95.]



“Electronic writing is both a visual and verbal description”, says Bolter, “not the writing of a place, but rather a writing with places, spatially realized topics […] signs and structures on the computer screen that have not easy equivalent in speech.” For Bolter, hypertext’s “electronic symbols […] seem to be an extension of a network of ideas in the mind itself.” Storyspace, the hypertext system Bolter and I developed with John B. Smith, embodies Bolter’s view that the “topographical” writing of hypertext” reflects the mind as a web of verbal and visual elements in conceptual space.












syn-cronic text

time as much as visual form




Ana Maria Uribe , Anipoema, “Gimnasia 3” (1998)






John Cayley:

Letters are very good at defining space for literate humans. Letter forms give excellent visual clues concerning relative distance. It would require experimentation in perception and cognition to verify this empirically, but my hypothesis is that, because letter shapes are both complex and familiar (to their readers, to the literate), they are highly suitable as reference shapes for spatiality. Unlike abstract shapes, letters possess an intrinsic scale … it should be possible to “play”—affectively, viscerally—with their form and arrangement in ways that are likely to have aesthetic significance, and some bearing—potentially, ultimately—on literary practice.” [Quoted in Andrew Michael Roberts, Lisa Otty, Martin H. Fischer and Anna Katharina Schaffner, “Creative Practice and Experimental Method in Electronic Literature and Human Experimental Psychology”, Digital Dichtung, No. 42 – 2012-12-20, (last accessed in July 2013).]






Philippe Bootz, unlike concrete poetry, in electronic literature it

“is not only (or no longer) the product of a process that is represented but the process itself. It is no longer an object represented, but it is a process. The procedural work thus comprises two levels of representation, that of the product and that of the process. […] Product is a transitory state of a process endowed with autonomy.”


“Like Attracts Like” by Emmett Williams


“Pêndulo” by E.M. De Melo e Castro (1961/62)

"Pêndulo" on Youtube:



Brian Kim Stefans, “The Dreamlife of Letters


visualization of meaning through the visualization of the word



John Cayley states about depth:

Addressed to writing, ‘depth’ is rarely conceived as material depth. Depth is even more abstracted when it is applied, critically, metaphorically, to writing than when, for example, it is applied to painting. [… The] practices of writing […] constrained by actual physical media—paper and the book—is often resisted by poetic writers, those, that is, who produce work which challenges flatland authority and engages with language-as-material. Whilst paper is thin and print is flat, nevertheless, these ‘old’ media allow many ways to indicate, if not perform, a text’s material depth, its temporality, its constitution as process.


Edwin Morgan’s “Message Clear” (1967).


Rui Torres, “Poemas no meio do caminho”, (“Poems in the middle of the road”, 2009)


Jeffrey Shaw: Legible City, Responsive Environment 1988-91



Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Screen


Camille Utterback and Romy Achituv, Text Rain (1999)

Evan Zimroth, Talk, You:

I like talking with you,
simply that: conversing,
a turning-with or –around, as in your turning around
to face me suddenly ...
At your turning, each part of my body turns to verb.
We are the opposite
of tongue-tied, if there
were such an antonym;
We are synonyms
for limbs' loosening
of syntax,
and yet turn to nothing: It's just talk.


Amaranth Borsuk and Brad Bouse, Between Page and Screen (2011)

Andrew Ellis, Chinatown (2010), realized at the Dynamic Media Institute of Massachusetts College of Art and Design