Glitch Poetics : Critical Sensory Realism in Contemporary Language Practice. / Jones, Nathan.

2019. 196 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis




This is a combined practice and theory submission. In it, I propose the term ‘glitch poetics’ to name a mode for reading and writing with deliberate error in contemporary literary texts. I pose the question: do glitches offer a moment of correspondence between the (already diverse) concerns of poetics and those of critical media practice? In attending to this question I perform a range of close readings of contemporary media technologies and texts looking for moments in which revealing errors allow us to read across poems, devices, bodies and environments. In “Body-System Glitch”, I use analysis of textual artworks by Caroline Bergvall and Erica Scourti, alongside that of two new media devices to show how the relationships between physical and technical systems are exposed and re-constituted by language errors. In “Lyric-Code Glitch”, I analyse works by Ben Lerner and Keston Sutherland, showing that their textual ruptures, corruptions, crises and instabilities are the result of the authors’ willingness to write through the current – post-digital – condition. A third chapter reflects on the way that glitch poetics ideas and practices combine in my own creative work.

This creative component includes The Happy Jug, presented here as a CD and libretto, and a book of poems, On the Point of Tearing and Disintegrating Uncontrollably. As well as updating literary approaches to textual error, the thesis aims to reinvigorate the use of ‘glitch’ for a new media context, by further distancing it from the aesthetic of pixilation that typified its use in the early part of the twenty first century. I also show how the “critical sensory experience” (Menkman 2011, p.33) that distinguishes the glitch from mere error, can form the basis for a literary realism unique to the
politics and technics of the digital age.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

ID: 34150241