On the Matter of the Concept

Ferreira Gullar’s Relational Poetics

Rebecca Kosick


This article explores how neoconcrete poetry is created in language’s relational capacities. Though neoconcretism’s relational practices have primarily been thought of as the domain the visual arts, my project uncovers a relational poetics in which language is plastic and made to matter. Looking at examples including poet Ferreira Gullar’s “Buried Poem”—an underground poem-room which the “reader” enters—this essay shows that the poem plays an important role in the history of what Lygia Clark has called the “relational object.” By considering Gullar’s reading of Merleau-Ponty alongside his neoconcrete poetry, this article demonstrates not only that the relational poetic object can be “transparent to phenomenological understanding” (as Gullar puts it) but that language partakes of this process from its most intimate insides. Not just a conceptual score which would guide, from the outside, the co-creation of a relational object, language, in a relational poetics, is part of what makes the object matter.


Este artigo explora como a poesia neoconcreta é criada nas capacidades relacionais da linguagem. Apesar das práticas relacionais do neoconcretismo serem consideradas principalmente no domínio das artes visuais, meu projeto revela uma poética relacional onde a linguagem é plástica e material. Olhando exemplos como o “Poema enterrado”—um poema-quarto subterrâneo do poeta Ferreira Gullar no qual o “leitor” entra—este ensaio mostra que o poema tem um papel importante na história do que Lygia Clark chamou “objeto-relacional.” Considerando a leitura que Gullar faz de Merleau-Ponty ao lado de sua poesia neoconcreta, este artigo demonstra que o objeto poético relacional pode ser “transparente ao conhecimento fenomenológico “ (como diz Gullar), e também que a linguagem participa deste processo desde as suas entranhas mais íntimas. Numa poética relacional, a linguagem não é apenas uma partitura conceitual que guiaria de fora a co-criação de um objeto-relacional, mas antes é parte do que faz o objeto material.

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