All down the line : permutation poetry in three South African journals, 1965 – 1975

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Abstract: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the literary journals Wurm, Ophir and Izwi published a significant amount of formally experimental poetry by several local as well as a few European writers. This work included the specialised forms of procedural and permutation poetry, which were popular internationally during this time frame, but which also fall into a longer tradition of concrete poetry and its related forms. In the following article, I explain these specific forms in relation to a global literary-historical framework. I then provide an overview of what my work with the journals’ archives indicates to be all of the permutation and procedural poetry published by these three periodicals within the decade, 1965-1975, and provide a descriptive analysis of the texts.