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Moving text in avant-garde poetry
Towards a poetics of textual motion

by Teemu Ikonen

Recent innovations in digital environments may suggest that the possibility to manipulate the literal movement of the text could be one of the essential variables separating digital literature from printed literature. This bipolar distinction between digital and print media hides, however, a complex historical background. A fuller comprehension of movement as a variable in literature calls for the clarification of the historical development from the "analogies of movement" in printed literature to the innovations in video art, experimental film and multimedia poetry.

In classifying types of textual movement at least the following questions are relevant: What can be kinetic in the poetic text? How does the movement take place? Where does it take place? What is the result of the movement? And finally, what (or who) makes the text move? The article develops conceptual divisions that make answering these questions possible and thus helps to make the question of the specificity of digitally manipulated movement more precise.



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