Passionately Cool: Concrete Poetry in Denmark

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The cool minimalism of the 1960s and 1970s was an attempt to democratise art and open the work to the audience. From a general socio-political perspective it was part of the struggle to overturn hierarchies and create a shared activism that would bring about a new society and world order. The cool media of the art scene were thus part of a passionate political movement. Concrete poetry wanted to foster a new corporeal sensibility that would involve readers in the performative completion of the work, as an erotic act of reading as well as a personal act of imagination. But readers were not necessarily willing to step into the “open work” and provide the bodily warmth and mental energy needed to see the “undramatic emptiness” of concrete poetry as “attractive or even beautiful” and to imagine “what sense of life is implied” (Nielsen). Although both writers and theorists imagined the “new cycle of relations between the artist and his audience”, the “new mechanics of aesthetic perception”, and the resulting “different status for the artistic product in contemporary society” (Eco) would happen spontaneously as part of the ongoing social and technological changes, more time and training was needed for such avant-garde practices to become sufficiently familiar for readers to recognise the warmth beneath the cool surface.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCool Nordic : Experiments with Literary History
EditorsGunilla Hermansson, Jens Lohfert Jørgensen
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019
SeriesF I L L M Studies in Languages and Literatures

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - cool, nordic, concrete poetry, Vagn Steen, Hans-Jørgen Nielsen, Per Højholt

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