November 16 Philosophy Party

WHAT: Professor Michael Dobberstein, “The Visual Aesthetic of Poetry: A Problem for Voice”

WHEN: Friday, November 16, starting at 6 pm. Discussion will begin at 8 pm.

WHERE: the home of Professor Howard Cohen - 6330 Moraine Avenue, Hammond, IN (one block west of Hohman and 1.5 blocks north of 165th).  If lost, please call: 219-218-0212.

DISCUSSION TOPIC: “The Visual Aesthetic of Poetry: A Problem for Voice”

Everyone knows what a poem is supposed to look like on the page—indeed, some claim that this characteristic layout, short lines, spaces between stanzas, etc., is the chief means of distinguishing poetry from prose. If we regard the written poem as a “seen object,” then we must note how white space contributes to the visual configuration of the poem. Poems, of course, are meant to be voiced (read aloud) as well as seen, so conceptualizing the poem as a graphic object allows us to ask: How does the negative space of the poem contribute to the way it should be voiced? Another way of saying this, is: “Can we trust the poet’s visual cues in the poem (very short lines, very long lines, indented lines, etc.) to guide us in an oral rendition of the poem?” These questions, and other related queries, will be discussed.