Transgressing the Normative in Edwin Morgan’s “Message Clear”
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Edwin Morgan’s poetics of the language-game can be seen as functionalised in many contexts: historical, cultural, social, political, and aesthetic. A genuine Scot, known for his subversive political and social views, Morgan often engages in linguistic transgressive play in order to undermine the presumptions of the mainstream discourse but also to question the veristic rules of poetry writing. Insisting on expressibility and recognising a grounded, limited subjectivity as all that is on offer in socially structured practice, Morgan works at and against frontiers of the possible, transgression of limits being integral to his forms of attention. The paper attempts to analyse Morgan’s concrete poem “Message Clear” which undermines cognitively privileged habits of observation, preferred value systems, and dominant cultural assumptions. The analysis focuses on the poem’s “verbivocovisuality” (Joyce) and morphodynamics, which not only question the one-way linear flow between poet and reader but also point to the idea of “freeplay” (Derrida).
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