From Concrete to Digital: The Reconceptualization of Poetic Space

Abstract (in English): 

It has almost become self-evident in the critical discourse on digital poetry to assess digital poetry as a continuation of an experimental tradition with its origins in the historical and the neo-avant-garde. Critics such as Friedrich W. Block and Roberto Simanowski in particular read contemporary digital poetry explicitly as extension and continuation of concerns of the avant-garde and concrete poets.

Block points out that almost all vital concerns of digital poetry can be traced back to its historical predecessors. He names the reflection upon the concrete language material, the transgression of genre boundaries, multilinearity and the exploration of spatial structures, movement and interactivity as key strategies which are vital concepts in historical avant-garde, concrete and digital poetry. Digital poetry is frequently, and I believe correctly, assigned to the wider trajectory of experimental/avant-garde poetry in many other studies as well. It is often considered as a third stage, contemporary continuation and further development of earlier experiments.

In this essay, however, I explore the relationship between concrete and digital poetry more closely. In particular, I am going to focus on one of the main concerns of the concrete poets: the poetics of space. How did concrete poetry redefine poetic space and how are space and its parameters reconfigured once more in digital poetry in a second step? And what happens to the notion of ‘concrete’ in the web?

[Source: Author's Abstract]

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Patricia Tomaszek