The poetic term “strophe” carries a long-standing implication of movement. It refers to the first part of an ode and is defined as a unit of movement with a song performed in Ancient Greek Tragedy by the chorus as it turned one way (strophe), then another (antistrophe) and then stood in its track (epode). In subsequent definitions, it came to be associated with the song of troubadours and became known for its flexibility in discussing poetic performance with music, dance, gesture and breath. Apart from strophe, movement is also implied in the description of other poetic terms. In “White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy” for instance, Jacques Derrida writes about the “movement of metaphorization” which is passing from a “proper sensible meaning” to a “proper spiritual meaning” exemplified in this fascinating description of the sun:
If the sun can "sow," it is because its name is written into a system of relations which constitute it. Its name is no longer the proper name of a unique thing on which the metaphor would supervene; that name has already begun to speak of the multiple and divided origin of all sowing, of the eye, of invisibility, of death, of the father… (Derrida, 25)
Through the force of aletheia (the property of what is) philosophy tries to cross out this movement of metaphor. Can poetry account for the movement of metaphor? Anagram is another poetic term that is produced through the movement or arrangement of letters. Finally, in Edouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation, imperial or Western languages (French and English) are described as “vehicular languages”. As French spread to its colonies, Glissant notes, it maintained a “centripetal” movement. In other words, it maintained its place of origin, that is, it “strengthened the illusion that its place of origin remained (even today) the privileged womb and promoted the belief that this language had some kind of universal value that had nothing whatsoever to do with the areas into which it had actually spread.” (Glissant, 117)
This seminar invites proposals that reflect on the inherent connection between poetry and movement, defined broadly. Proposals can address but may not be limited to the following themes:
- Poetic turns, address, breath and other gestures.
- Poetic metaphors and other figures of movement.
- Poetry and other arts such as theater, dance, song and the visual arts, especially cinema.
- Poetry’s relationship to political movements.
- Poetry and translation.