[un]Defining Poetry: The Poetry of René Magritte and Art of Steve McCaffery
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Linda A. Kinnahan
Abstract Art, Concrete Poetry, Empty Mask, Interpretation of Dreams, Modern Art, Semiotics, Surrealism, This is not a Pipe, Toronto Reading Group (TRG, Treachery of Images, Xeroxography
This thesis explores René Magritte's paintings that include words and Steve McCaffery's visual "poetry," both of which challenge the distinction between poetry and art, and by extension, between seeing and reading. In my chapter devoted to Magritte, I show how his word paintings are comparable to Mallarmé's and the later L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry, which break the relationship between the word and world, as well as the relationship between signifier and signified, allowing for a free play of meaning, which does not ignore the thingness of the word. The McCaffery chapter focuses on three of his projects: Transitions to the Beast, Broken Mandala, and Carnival. In the former two, McCaffery abstracts language from its referential function and reduces it to its base qualities, hand drawn letters or pure graphic materiality. Finally, the two-panel typestract Carnival somersaults the roles of author and audience, reader and viewer, and poetry and art.
Pfahl, C. (2007). [un]Defining Poetry: The Poetry of René Magritte and Art of Steve McCaffery (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1559