7º International Meeting of
Experimental, Sound & Visual Poetry
WHAT IS VISUAL POETRY
By Gustavo Vega (Spain) *
The phenomea of visual poetry, in its actual form, for diversity of reasons like being marginal and not being widely difused, is still unkown to major critics and audiances of art and literaure.
As such the lack of existance of a balanced criticism sufficently wide-spread and objective of forms of Visual Poetry result as such that at the moment of investigation, we are faced wtih a formible chaos of terminology and ideas. Furthermore, geografical distance and the will of certain artists lead to lack of sufficent consensus of Visual Poetry’s nomenclature in a way that its concepts and terninology fuse, refuse and confuse leading to further dilusions, confusions.
It is possible that the same terminology is used to denominate differents objects with same character or vice-verca, the same object is arbitrarely denominated by different terms. Furthermore some terms like the word “concrete” are largely used -although not in the sense of any concrete definition- other terms have a more restricted circumstances of use or area.
Furthermore the fact that there has not been a general consensus, has resulted that sometimes objects are classified as “visual poems” where they can hardly be qualified as such because they are not “poetic” objects. One example is Mail Art. Many visual poets on occasions have used Mail Art with works that are visual poems and also those that are not. The term Visual Poems can not be extended to all types of Mail Art.
From my perspective, we can define Visual poems -or as I prefare to say in order avoid any confusions Poems of Visual Creations- a certain type of poetic creation using visual resources. In that I include from “caligramma” -that was developed by the Greeks- to newer forms of creation that are neo-vanguardists or are part of the newest technologies.
They are forms of poems that include different resources from written words to plastic objects and virtual images that funcion as semantic elements or poetic metaphors, but only if in they are visually capturable.
It is a form of artistic creation that is interdiciplinary. Usually it is based on the conjuction of various diciplines, mainly literature with its poetic lingusitic metaphors and plastic metaphors. To this we have to add that, that at the same time, the majority of poems of visual creations have the tendency to reduce the dicourse to instantaneity. What it says is not discursive, whereas in other forms of poetry what animates and creates harmony passes in time and discourse. Each of its elements is situated in a symbolic space of instantaneous relations; discontinuos relations, without requiring de fluidity of time. As such in each of its elements produces a reduction from temporality to spaciality.
* translated by Madeleine Essalat