AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2021... 2021 Beyond Words / When 'Nothing' Makes Poetry Happen
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Charles Bukowski called poetry ‘what happens when nothing else can’. But what happens when poetry can’t? Through autoethnography and poetic inquiry, this article considers visual writing and alogia, which in psychiatric discourses represents paucity of speech and language indicative of thought disorder. I write as a poet who experiences mild alogia during bipolar depressive phases. While generally manageable, depression for me often forecloses my usual word-based writing practices. Visual poetry, however, remains possible; it becomes the poetry that ‘nothing’ (depression’s void) makes happen. Connecting this phenomenon with research into writing-as-thinking, where poetry facilitates various specialist thought practices, alogia and related negative psychiatric symptoms feasibly reflect thought processes exceeding word-based communication. Such ‘disordered’ thinking may thus be recognised as activating what Keats termed negative capability: poetic reaching through uncertainty towards the un/thinkable (the not-yet-thought, but thinkable). My article supports this argument through analysis of my own and other writers’ visual poems.' (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Axon : Creative Explorations Poetry as Speculation vol. 11 no. 1 July 2021 22531509 2021 periodical issue

    'This issue of the Axon journal investigates ways in which contemporary poetry speculates about the world, modes of being, reality, creativity, writing itself and ways of understanding the quotidian.

    'The period in which these various articles and poems were written (or at least submitted) was one in which the quotidian itself had been anything but predictable. Things that we had long assumed to be part of everyday life were out of reach, new and strange familiarities taking their place. Perhaps, in this respect, our general experience of the world could be said to have verged, through this phase, towards the unusual perspectives that poetry has given us so compellingly through the ages. Many more of us, I suspect, have been pushed towards greater introspection — and reflection. It is fascinating how those two things go together, as Paul Venzo articulates so well here, firstly in relation to sonnets by Petrarch and Shakespeare, but by extension to many contemporary sonnets, which ‘continue to encourage us to speculate on our position in the world: not just our relationship to others, but also to ourselves’.' (Introduction)

Last amended 2 Aug 2021 15:54:00‘nothing’-makes-poetry-happen Beyond Words / When 'Nothing' Makes Poetry Happensmall AustLit logo Axon : Creative Explorations