Taking a line for a walk

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In this article various aspects of iconicity in three poems by the Afrikaans poet T.T. Cloete are analysed and discussed. In the poems the poet uses words to describe a line which “draws” the outline of an object. This technique is interpreted as a referred form of referentiality which transfers attention from the (referential) object to the poetic interpretation of the object in the poem and to the poem itself. Apart from the diagrammatic iconicity in the use of a “represented” diagram, the technical complexity of the poems also suggest the use of imagic and metaphoric iconicity on account of the use of typographical features as well as literary and cultural allusions. Using Lotman’s distinction between the semantic, the poetical and the cultural aspects of semantic value, the poems are analysed and interpreted. The main aim of the article is to indicate the ways in which iconic features, on the linguistic, poetical and cultural level, add to the ability of poems to generate multi­layered meaning.


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