Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 14, No 3 (2018)

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Poetics in Public Space: Towards a Hermeneutic Framing of Ephemeral Poetic Expressions

Burghard Baltrusch


This study aims to revisit some hermeneutical aspects which are essential for a theoretical approach to the interrelated notions of the poetic and poeticity in public space. I will use examples of ephemeral poetic forms such as graffito or performance, but also some examples of poetic objects from linguistic fields such as English, Portuguese, Spanish and German. These reflections on a theoretical and methodological framework for poetry and translation in public space can be subsumed under the key concept of transit-translation. I will associate four poetic expressions from four related cultural areas, with non-lyric discourse in visual, verbo-visual and performance poetry, in public space. They will be distributed along four thematic lines which I consider crucial to the current description of the phenomenon: the intermedial-intermaterial transition, the transfer from the poetic-political to the commercial, the poetic-political multimedia project, and the conflict between the poetic and the public. Drawing from different theoretical backgrounds (Heidegger, Benjamin, Rancière, Badiou, Bhabha, Butler and Spivak), I propose that these forms of non-lyric poetry might represent the advent of a new public sphere, which is no longer exclusively formed by an idealistic, romantic tradition, but rather characterised by a hermeneutic ambiguity which suggests a reconfiguration of the subject and of poetic subjectivity.

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