Title

’Pataphysics and Paul Dutton: Paul Dutton’s Creation of “Phoenix”

Submitter and Co-author information

Marisa Bordonaro, University of WindsorFollow

Standing

Graduate (Masters)

Type of Proposal

Oral Research Presentation

Challenges Theme

Open Challenge

Faculty Sponsor

None

Abstract/Description of Original Work

This paper analyzes Paul Dutton’s concrete poem, “Phoenix,” and explores how visual and sonic elements of the text intertwine to create a distinct type of phoenix situated within the poem itself and within Canadian literary history. This paper examines “Phoenix” under the lens of Canadian concrete poet bpNichol’s theory of literary ’pataphysics. bpNichol’s ’pataphysics views individual letters, punctuation, and even space on the page as distinct signifiers that help to shape the meaning of the poem. Since concrete poetry relies on the visual appearance of text to depict meaning, bpNichol’s ’pataphysics is particularly relevant towards the analysis of concrete poetry. Using ’pataphysics, this paper examines how Dutton’s arrangements of linguistic, visual, and sonic signifiers on the page represent the phoenix’s eternal cycle of death and revival. These signifiers also influence the significance of the epitaph of the late bpNichol within the poem. While the epitaph represents bpNichol’s death, the poem also contradicts this notion through stylistic techniques that resemble and "renew" bpNichol’s poetic style. bpNichol specifically influenced the spread of concrete poetry throughout Canada in the 1960s and remains a significant figure within the genre. Although many scholars have analyzed bpNichol’s influence on Canadian concrete poetry, this paper explores the reciprocal relationship between bpNichol’s impact on Dutton’s poetics and Dutton’s resurrection of bpNichol through his own poetry after bpNichol’s death. “Phoenix” arranges various signifiers on the page to create a phoenix that signifies the endless renewal of the late bpNichol’s stylistic influence on Canadian concrete poetry.

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’Pataphysics and Paul Dutton: Paul Dutton’s Creation of “Phoenix”

This paper analyzes Paul Dutton’s concrete poem, “Phoenix,” and explores how visual and sonic elements of the text intertwine to create a distinct type of phoenix situated within the poem itself and within Canadian literary history. This paper examines “Phoenix” under the lens of Canadian concrete poet bpNichol’s theory of literary ’pataphysics. bpNichol’s ’pataphysics views individual letters, punctuation, and even space on the page as distinct signifiers that help to shape the meaning of the poem. Since concrete poetry relies on the visual appearance of text to depict meaning, bpNichol’s ’pataphysics is particularly relevant towards the analysis of concrete poetry. Using ’pataphysics, this paper examines how Dutton’s arrangements of linguistic, visual, and sonic signifiers on the page represent the phoenix’s eternal cycle of death and revival. These signifiers also influence the significance of the epitaph of the late bpNichol within the poem. While the epitaph represents bpNichol’s death, the poem also contradicts this notion through stylistic techniques that resemble and "renew" bpNichol’s poetic style. bpNichol specifically influenced the spread of concrete poetry throughout Canada in the 1960s and remains a significant figure within the genre. Although many scholars have analyzed bpNichol’s influence on Canadian concrete poetry, this paper explores the reciprocal relationship between bpNichol’s impact on Dutton’s poetics and Dutton’s resurrection of bpNichol through his own poetry after bpNichol’s death. “Phoenix” arranges various signifiers on the page to create a phoenix that signifies the endless renewal of the late bpNichol’s stylistic influence on Canadian concrete poetry.