Vagueness, poetry

Sutherland, Keston (2007) Vagueness, poetry. In: Armand, Louis (ed.) Contemporary poetics. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill, pp. 175-184. ISBN 9780810123601

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An experiment in improvisatory critical theory, this article seeks to reconceptualise the relation in aesthetic thinking between "precision" and "vagueness" from the point of view of a practising poet. It asks whether the value of precision in literary art might not be newly questionable in a world where precision bombing is the greatest weapon in the arsenal of imperialism. The article traces the history of aesthetic and philosophical defenses of precision, and dismissals of vagueness, from Ezra Pound's insistence on "le mot juste" through Bertrand Russell's denial that vagueness has any existence outside cognitive error, to poetic writing of the contemporary moment. The article asks how trustworthy might be my subjective confession of "feeling vague" and examines how the ambiguity of that feeling is and might be exploited in poetry.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: Keston Sutherland
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2012 10:01
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2012 10:01
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