詩的精髓,就在於用簡練的文字,塑造出令人神往的意境。但詩只有一種表現形式嗎?它能融入設計的元素嗎?「視覺詩」(Visual Poetry)擺脫詩固有的形態,從視覺角度來安排字母或詞彙,進而產生特殊的意象,讓詩不再只是沉甸甸的文字。今期Chessman Post將會介紹奧地利視覺詩人Anatol Knotek的作品,一窺他如何結合文字與圖像,為詩開拓出另一片宇宙。

談起「詩」,大家可能會聯想到中國的五言絕詩、七言律詩等,或是結構較靈活的新詩。然而,Anatol Knotek卻顛覆我們以往的想法,以文字排版及多變的圖案去表達一首詩。他自幼喜歡繪畫,深深地崇拜意大利畫家莫迪里安尼的作品,並時常參考其創作風格。某天,他忽爾萌生一個有趣的念頭——就是用文字呈現莫迪里安尼畫作的視覺效果。他開始收集報紙進行拼貼藝術,又在偶然的機會下認識「視覺詩」這種詩體,繼而展開了他的詩人生涯。

Anatol Knotek的詩作總是滲透着諷刺意味,不論是甚麼詞語,他都能藉由異想天開的文字排位,拆解背後的多重意義。例如在作品《Nothing Lasts Forever》,「Forever」中的幾個字母散落一地,只剩下「over」,令讀者想到永恆最終也有完結的一天。《Human Right $》揭示了人權背後,大抵離不開金錢利益。《It Was Here Too》則運用顏色的差異,營造人去樓空的感覺。《Point Of View》從正面看,似是錯綜複雜的線條,但若從左、右兩旁細心觀察,便會分別看出「wrong」和「right」二字。一切孰是孰非,從來只是觀點與角度的問題。他盡可能在同一個詞語中發掘不同的字義,展現文字的對比張力。

一個字也能成詩,對古人來說大概是件匪夷所思的事。也許,誠如英國著名思想家米爾(John Stuart Mill)在《何謂詩》(What is Poetry) 所言,詩就是詩人內心的獨語,讀者只能心領神會,字數的多寡已是其次了。


The essence of poetry lies in using succinct words and phrases to create a hypnotizing atmosphere. But is it the only form of poetry? Can the elements of design be added in poems? An utterly disparate poetic form that changes one’s stereotypical impression on poetry, visual poetry deploys typography to produce a special effect. In this issue of Chessman Post, we would like to introduce Anatol Knotek, the Austrian visual poet who blends words and graphics together to expand the universe of poetry.

When it comes to poetry, one would probably think of the five-character quatrain and seven-character regulated verse in Chinese poetry, or the modern Chinese poetry with a more flexible structure. Yet, the poems of Anatol Knotek would shift our mindsets towards poetry because of the typographical arrangement and graphics. Fascinated with painting since childhood, he adores the Italian painted Amedeo Modigliani so much that he had been painting in Modigliani’s style for several years. Until one day, he suddenly came across a new idea—that is, to display the visual style of Modigliani’s work merely in words. He started to collect newspaper cuttings for making collages, and later, he learnt about the concept of visual poetry accidentally, which led him to be a visual poet.

The poems of Anatol Knotek always convey a sense of irony. Be it a short or a long word, Anatol Knotek is able to use his creativity and whimsy arrange the characters to express the hidden meanings of the words. In his work “Nothing Lasts Forever”, only the word “over” is left while other characters are scattering on the floor. “Human Right $” reveals the fact that pecuniary benefits surpass human right. By creating color contrast, “It Was Here Too” contains a touch of emptiness. As for “Point Of View”, you may think that it looks like a picture filled with intricate lines and characters at the first glance. But if you look at it from the left and right sides, you will discover the word “wrong” and “right” respectively. It gives out a meaning that all rights and wrongs depend on your viewpoints. He tries his best to look for the multiple meanings hidden in the words to create the contradictory tension in the same word.

To ancient people, it could be impossible to write a poem in just one word as Anatol Knotek does. Perhaps, just as what the British philosopher John Stuart Mill said in his essay “What is Poetry”, poems are the monologue of the poets and readers can only overhear the inner thoughts in it. As long as the message is conveyed properly, the number of words is not the main concern.

Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #193



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