From icon to alphabet and back, the work of bp Nichol as challenge to typographical and literary convention

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Keating, Claire
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Various critical theories dispute accepted notions of the semantics and semiotics of language, reader/author/text relationships, and traditional methods of textual reproduction and transmission, among them Futurism, Dadaism, and Concrete Poetry. Some artists engaged entirely new registers of expression, discontented with what the predominant means of production, print, afforded them. Within the context of the page, Canadian poet bp Nichol exploits the properties and ambiguities of the sign in an effort to free the word from its referential function. In much of his work, the sign, the individual configurations which constitute the sign, and the elements which make up the page, are 'objects' to be 'caressed.' To understand Nichol's work calls for a radical approach to the literary text, one that does not move hastily beyond the sign to a distant referent but one that remains poised at the 'surface' of the work. A 'reading' of bp Nichol becomes an exploration of possibilities that include the mechanics of the page, its support surface and markings. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)</ cvalue> <dcvalue element="date" qualifier="issued">1997-05-01T00:00:00Z