Displaced metaphors: Collaborative poetic responses to language in a postphysical world

Owen Bullock, Lucinda McKnight, Ruby Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


This practice-led paper discusses an ongoing creative and conceptual collaboration between three authors, in which poetry is approached as a means of exploring how lived experience and language are being transformed by the rapid evolution of digital devices and technologies. We reflect on our use of poetry to explore and interrupt the increasing invisibility of metaphors such as ‘cloud’ and ‘screen’ as applied to technology, by re-foregrounding the disjunctions between metaphor and what it describes. Engaging with the work of Paul Ricouer and Maurice Blanchot, we consider the unique operations of literary language and the ability of poetry to invite critical encounter in ways that foreground physical sensation and the free association of signifiers. We explore how such poetic engagements offer an important means of approaching questions concerning the implications of digitisation, via language and lived experience on what we perceive as the ‘real.’ In this context, we consider Baudrillard’s dystopic postulations regarding simulacra and hyperreality, and Susan Stewart’s perception of digital modes of communication as inducing a nostalgic longing for the immediacy of pre-digital reality. As this paper will discuss, such possibilities, at once dystopic and mournful, are at once complicated and offset by the generative potential of creative engagements with digitisation, which have exciting possibilities for creative practice.
Keywords: metaphor, poetry, digital technology
Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalTEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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