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Introduction: Poetry Games

Introduction: Poetry Games Jonathan P. Eburne and Andrew Epstein A hundred years ago, the French avant-garde poet Blaise Cendrars proclaimed that “la poésie est en jeu.” Although the line declares that “poetry is at stake,” Cendrars also suggests a poem is a kind of game (“jeu”), a form of play. The idea that poetry and play are intimately connected has a very long history, but this linkage moves to the forefront during the twentieth century, as the use of word games, constraints, chance methods, generative processes, performative projects, collaborative writing, hoaxes, and other project-based or playful compositional practices become central tools for a wide range of avant-garde writers and artists. What is at stake in such practices, in such ludic approaches to poetic composition, and why are they so much with us today? Indeed, such “poetry games” seem to be everywhere in recent years. The notion of poetry as a game or project—in which the writer devises an idea, concept, or set of procedures or practices that help generate the work—has become central to contemporary poetry. Such is the case not only for poets associated with self-styled experimental movements, such as conceptual poetry and Flarf, but also for a broad range of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Studies Penn State University Press

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1528-4212

Abstract

Jonathan P. Eburne and Andrew Epstein A hundred years ago, the French avant-garde poet Blaise Cendrars proclaimed that “la poésie est en jeu.” Although the line declares that “poetry is at stake,” Cendrars also suggests a poem is a kind of game (“jeu”), a form of play. The idea that poetry and play are intimately connected has a very long history, but this linkage moves to the forefront during the twentieth century, as the use of word games, constraints, chance methods, generative processes, performative projects, collaborative writing, hoaxes, and other project-based or playful compositional practices become central tools for a wide range of avant-garde writers and artists. What is at stake in such practices, in such ludic approaches to poetic composition, and why are they so much with us today? Indeed, such “poetry games” seem to be everywhere in recent years. The notion of poetry as a game or project—in which the writer devises an idea, concept, or set of procedures or practices that help generate the work—has become central to contemporary poetry. Such is the case not only for poets associated with self-styled experimental movements, such as conceptual poetry and Flarf, but also for a broad range of

Journal

Comparative Literature StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Apr 15, 2014

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