Language as Material: Materiality and Method – Andrea Mason

“Uncreative writing mirrors the ethos of net neutral advocates, claiming that one way of treating language is materially, focusing on formal qualities as well as communicative ones. … even in their most abstracted form, letters are embedded with semantic, semiotic, historical, cultural and associative meanings.” (Goldsmith, 2011)

This lecture continued on from the theme of Uncreative Writing, previously explored in Mason’s ‘Holding Text’ lecture. This time looking at literary texts which put emphasis on form, over plot; whilst questioning the political aspect of language and art.
We were asked to look at writing not as text, but as art. Offering a new way of seeing and provoking a more personal response to the piece.

“Like a logo, a poem should be instantly recognisable.”

Concrete poetry, a term coined in the 1950s, is the treatment of words and letters as building blocks with the intention of using letter arrangements to enhance the meaning of a poem. Examples of concrete poetry:
17_Concrete-poems-postcards davidconcretepoetry1960s-3imgres

In the lecture, we were asked to create our own concrete poetry. This is my attempt.

Speaking from above, at such accelerated virtue, you’re more dark outside than in.

After the Concrete Poetry movement, came Oulipo,in the mid 20th century. It had similar characteristics, working with restraints and non emotional writing. ‘A Void’, written by George Perec, a key member of this movement, was written entirely without the use of the letter ‘E’ whilst following the Oulipo style, which links to the non emotional aspect, as he cannot make reference to his own name, or his family and their names.

This lecture, despite more interactive than others, didn’t keep me captivated, perhaps because I was already set on basing my essay on Eysler’s First Things First lecture/topic. I learnt a lot about the different movements in poetry and I have been taught to view written language in a more extensive range of forms however it is not a theme I am particularly interested in perusing.

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