Assembling La nueva novela: Juan Luis Martínez and a Material Poetics of Relation

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This article considers La nueva novela, a strange book-object assembled by twentieth-century Chilean poet Juan Luis Martínez, in light of Édouard Glissant’s “poetics of relation” and Manuel DeLanda’s elaboration of “assemblage theory.” By bringing together these texts, which both draw from Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the rhizome, this essay demonstrates how La nueva novela can be seen as a material poetics of relation, an assemblage whose many parts work to both bind and unbind the book together as a whole. It raises the question of how a book like this—made as, and from, such diverse parts as visual math problems in which, for example, a painting of Rimbaud and a military jacket minus a shoe, a boot, and a sock equals suspenders, a spat, and a sock; actual metal fishhooks taped to a page; riddles and problems of logic; other people’s poems; musical scores; drawings, for example, of a pipe split in half (titled “Meditations on Rene Magritte” and dedicated to Foucault); among many other things—can be read, arguing in favor of a kind of surface reading that attends to both La nueva novela’s material and meaningful components.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-873
Number of pages20
JournalLatin American Research Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2017

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Material Texts
  • Bristol Poetry Institute


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