'What are we not headed for?': The Constellatory Poetics of Bill Griffiths’ Binaries. Not Sonnets

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    Abstract

    This article focuses on Bill Griffiths’ poem-sequence Binaries. Not
    Sonnets, published in an Etruscan Reader in 1997. It considers how the
    text relates to the wider sonnet tradition given Griffiths’ own hostility
    towards the form. Two earlier ‘sonnets’ by Griffiths prove purposeful
    interventions into inherited reading practices, a methodology employed
    more extensively in Binaries where Griffiths playfully activates the ‘not
    sonnet’, an impossible form which calls up the sonnet at the same time
    as denying it. A reading of the frontispiece to Binaries shows how the
    text relates to Eugen Gomringer’s notion of the ‘constellation’ and
    Griffiths’ peculiar use throughout the poem of the double equals-sign is
    considered in the light of Alfred Korzybski’s Science and Sanity (1933),
    a work that resonates with many of Binaries’ structural and ethical
    concerns.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberVolume 6, Number 1
    Pages (from-to)65-83
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry
    Volume6
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014

    Keywords

    • constellation • Bill Griffiths • Korzybski • not sonnet • sonnet

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