Poetic Visuality and Experimentation: A Brief Guide to English-Canadian Poetry, is part of the CanLit Guides project, which takes advantage of Canadian Literature’s online archives to introduce students to conversations surrounding Canadian literature.
A team at Canadian Literature curated and developed this guide to introduce students to the ideas and issues surrounding experimental poetry in Canada, in particular conceptual and visual poetry, while also introducing critical reading and writing skills.
|Poetic Visuality and Experimentation|
Written by CanLit Guides' Editorial TeamLiterature loves to throw curveballs. Contemporary writers in particular often challenge expectations and assumptions about literature by purposefully disrupting them. Wynne Francis, writing on the 1960s literary scene, observes that Canadian literature became polarized between a mass market/mainstream culture (figured as the centre, or as culture itself) and the radical fringe that expressed a counter-culture of extreme experimentalism.
|Reading Visual Poetry|
Written by CanLit Guides' Editorial TeamSome poets push further, beyond visual placement of words, to visual disruption of language itself. For example non-semantic or asemic visual poetry plays with letters in a variety of ways without forming words.
|Visual Poetry and Indigenous-Settler Issues: Shane Rhodes and Jordan Abel|
Written by CanLit Guides' Editorial TeamThis chapter includes several contemporary visual poems by non-Indigenous poet Shane Rhodes (b. 1973) and Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel (b. 1985). These poems engage with the ways that land negotiations, treaties, and cultural documentation dispossessed Indigenous peoples.
|Defamiliarization and Reconceptualization|
Written by CanLit Guides' Editorial TeamThe following poems, previously published in Canadian Literature, use a variety of strategies to defamiliarize and reconceptualize their subject. These strategies include novel combinations of images, linguistic disruptions, and more.