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Title: The making of a radical poetics : modernist forms in the work of Bob Cobbing : elements for an exegesis of Cobbing's art
Author: Jackson, Mark Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 9139
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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I survey Cobbing’s considerable and varied output, placing it initially into approximate chronological phases. I discern formal and aesthetic traits and their development over time. I attempt to place the work within wider poetic and artistic traditions, namely avant-gardism, the British Poetry Revival, sound and visual poetry, and the exploration of artistic form. I propose an understanding of flow as an intersection of two axes: linear temporality (flow time) which exists outside of social time, and multidimensional or constellatory spatiality which is generated by certain artistic works. The body bridges social time and flow time through creative gestures and by unifying temporal elements. I trace the features of abstraction as they emerged throughout roughly the first half of the twentieth century in visual art, sound poetry and lexical poetry. I define poetic and artistic form, noting that radical works explore traditional boundaries of space, and discusses the politics of form. I examine theories of perception to arrive at a synthesis of form and perception in what I term the Event, where the engaged perceiver participates with the radical work in what constitutes a revolutionary activity. I include close readings of Cobbing’s Jade-Sound Poems, Domestic Ambient Noise and a sound performance of Container Leaks, applying my findings with regard to flow, abstraction, the politics of form, perception and space. The thesis concludes that Cobbing’s work, which constitutes a new poetics and exemplifies avant-gardist practice as a breaking out of old forms, can inspire radical modes of living if we engage creatively with the world. I believe this work provides a comprehensive exegesis for understanding Cobbing’s challenging work in relation to addresses to form and perception, an interpretation which is currently missing from the critical field.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available