E-poetry: the Palpable Side of Signs

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

In his famous essay entitles “Linguistics and Poetics” (1958) Roman Jakobson asserted that the “[poetic function] stresses the palpable side of signs”. Paul Valéry states that “a poem […] should create the illusion of an indissoluble compound of sound and sense”.

We traditionally call poetry an artistic experience related to the word both in oral and written form, whose composition unity is the verse line (alexandrine verse, free verse, etc.). The oral medium should be normally richer. The written poetry, in fact, translated into the page only the segmental part of a text, but it is not able to show the over-segmental part as the tone, modulation, etc. However, we can say that this discrepancy has been cancelled: for instance, emphasis, oral procedure concerning duration, has its graphic form highlighted.

The written poetry has always searched for visual figures that were comparable to prosodic variations of the oral poetry. The possibility to force the rigid imposition of printed page has freed the written verse line. Especially the computer opportunity gives back to poetry a new materiality of letters and through this a new expressive form, which are both palpable, for instance, in Arabic or oriental poetry.

Based on ideogram writing, the Arabic and oriental poetry stresses on the visual aspect of words. An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek idea “idea” + grapho “to write”) is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or a strictly representational picture of a subject as may be done in illustration or photography: ideogram appeals to nonverbal communication.

“The iconic force in language produces an enactment of the fictional reality thorough the form of the text. This brings] realistic illusion to life in a new dimension: as readers […] we enter into it iconically, as a dramatic performance, through the experience of reading”.

By focusing on the palpable side of signs and on entax, this paper will try to to identify and analyse the strategic elements which constitute the poeticity of e-poetry: the infographic images, the poeticity of the elements, theirs [il]legibility, the pluri-signification of the relation image-text, the flow of the reading process in the textual rearrangement.

If syntax covers the assembly operations of both figures and signs along the external space of a sign system, a word is needed to indicate the system of the operations which allows assembling the letters inside the figures: it is the entax. The entax chairs for example the combination of features, points, etc. which compose a letter or an ideogram. The entax extends its influence on interior space, syntax on external one. E-poetry often proposes a new entax that breaks the regular grouping of the segments, thus altering the order of the verses on the page and transforming the regularity of the characters. Finally this paper will trace a possible “grammar” of entax.

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Eric Dean Rasmussen