Form, Uncertainty, and the Reduction of the Arbitrary in Postmodern Poetry

Eric S. Rawson

Abstract


This article examines how uncertainty and the reduction of arbitrariness simultaneously create the tension necessary for the formal existence of the modern and postmodern poem in English.  Building on sociologist Niklas Luhmann’s extensive investigations of art as one of many modern autopoietic social systems, the author examines how the system of poetry seeks to reduce the arbitrariness of utterances while simultaneously maintaining the semantic and syntactical uncertainty necessary for a poem’s formal existence as an aesthetic (quasi)object.  The author examines poetry’s necessary resistance to code-formulations, concluding that the “noise” in poetic utterance is necessary to maintain the system of poetry given the social pressures of rampant legalism, fundamentalism, and hyper-commodification in which experience itself is being reduced to manipulable quanta.


Keywords


Aesthetic objects, poetic form, postmodern poetry, systems theory.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/journal.v7i8.1458

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Journal of Arts and Humanities (Print) ISSN:2167-9045

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[Journal of Arts and Humanities previously published by MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, MD, USA. From February 2018 this journal is published by the LAR Center Press, OR, USA]