Digital Poetry Beyond Avant-Garde Readings: Proposing a Digital Lyric

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Most often when critics try to demonstrate the "literariness" of digital poetry, the theory they rely upon derives from the avant-garde practices of the twentieth century. To expand this dialogue with literary traditions, this paper explores the possibility of a digital lyric. Through a textual analysis of selected digital poems, the lyric genre is reconsidered to meet the needs of digital writing in two ways. First, by drawing on key works from posthuman studies (Hayles; Haraway; Turkle) the lyric subject is re-envisioned beyond the limiting (and often assumed) Romantic-era definitions. Second, by revising the lyric subject with concepts from digital studies, a dialogue opens up with other generic traditions of the lyric: notions of brevity, emotional functions of the utterance, and even musical language. As well, the function of the lyric as a communal, performative gesture becomes an especially suitable poetic convention for the digital realm.

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Scott Rettberg