On the Matter of the Concept: Neoconcretism’s Relational Poetics

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This article explores how neoconcrete poetry is created in language’s relational capacities. Though neoconcretism’s relational practices have primarily been thought of as the domain the visual arts, my project uncovers a relational poetics in which language is plastic and made to matter. Looking at examples including poet Ferreira Gullar’s “Buried Poem”—an underground poem-room which the “reader” enters—this essay shows that the poem plays an important role in the history of what Lygia Clark has called the “relational object.” By considering Gullar’s reading of Merleau-Ponty alongside his neoconcrete poetry, this article demonstrates not only that the relational poetic object can be “transparent to phenomenological understanding” (as Gullar puts it) but that language partakes of this process from its most intimate insides. Not just a conceptual score which would guide, from the outside, the co-creation of a relational object, language, in a relational poetics, is part of what makes the object matter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-128
Number of pages21
JournalLuso-Brazilian Review
Issue number2
Early online date1 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Material Texts
  • Bristol Poetry Institute


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