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Meaning Governance

July 31, 2009

Meaning is a social and historical phenomenon–dare I say an ideological phenomenon?–and so meanings are governed by convention. These conventions are housed in the architectures of one’s given syntax and grammar. Though Gnoetry maintains enough syntax to create a sense of ordered composition, there is something inherently word-oriented about the composition process. The software acts on the word-level, each word transplanted from one system of utterance to another, e.g. from novel to poetic form, or from a system of culturally agreed upon meaning to the unhinged realm of multiple meaning that we’ve been describing. Gnoetry also brings us back into the history of a word.

We must imagine the hovering behind each word not the psychological or poetical intent of an author, but the text the word originates from and the word’s multitudinous meanings. The poem composed by means of this software must on some level be read in light of the historical and social context of the source texts, but also paradoxically in the manner of a poem whose social and historical context is a partial or complete mystery to us, or are so fragmented as to be open to any number of poetic interpretation, like the fragments of Archilochos or many Old English poems without name or specific context.

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