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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.76 n.3 Pretoria  2011


Ensuring coherence: Two solutions to organising poetic language1


Om koherensie te verseker: Twee oplossings vir die organisasie van poëtiese taal



A. Weideman

Department of English. University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. E-mail:




The organisation of poetic language as discourse type and as text is worth considering in its own right. What do poets bring to expression through their organisation of language, and how do they do it, if they employ language skilfully in order to support the main discursive threads of their work? This contribution demonstrates that poets may choose to organise language around discursive threads in order to ensure the integrity or wholeness of their texts. We might also label this wholeness the aesthetic coherence of the poetry that is produced. The article discusses two examples of how poets ensure coherence by organising their language in highly specific and inventive ways.

Key concepts: coherence., discourse types, poetic language, text


Dit is die moeite werd om die organisatoriese aspek van poetiëse taal as volwaardige diskoers- en teksvorm te oorweeg. Wat bring digters tot uitdrukking in die manier waarop hulle taal organiseer; en hoe bewerkstellig hulle dit indien hulle taal vernuftig aanwend sodat die diskursiewe draad van die teks deurlopend ondersteun word? Hierdie bydrae illustreer hoe dig-ters, in die organisering van hulle poëtiese taalgebruik, keuses maak om hulle taal so aan te wend dat diskursiewe lyne die koherensie en integriteit van hulle tekste verseker. Hierdie soort samebinding sou estetiese koherensie genoem kon word. Die artikel bespreek twee voorbeelde van poëtiese koherensie aan die hand van verskeie digters se hoogs innoverende en doel-gerigte organisering van taal.

Kernbegrippe: koherensie, poëtiese taalgebruik, teks, vorms van diskoers



Full text available only in PDF format.



List of references

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GARDNER, H. 1972. The metaphysical poets. London: Penguin.         [ Links ]

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WEIDEMAN, A. 2009. Beyond expression: a systematic analysis of the foundations of linguistics. Grand Rapids: Paideia.         [ Links ]

WEIDEMAN, A. 2010. A framework for the study of linguistics. Pretoria: Van Schaik.         [ Links ]

WEIDEMAN, A. 2011. Straddling three disciplines: foundational questions for a language department. Acta varia, 2011(1):1-21. (D.F. Malherbe memorial lecture and inaugural address, University of the Free State.         [ Links ])

WELLEK, R. & WARREN, A. 1949. Theory of literature. New York: Harcourt Brace.         [ Links ]



1 I would like to thank our research assistant, Colleen du Plessis, for editorial suggestions, and following up and updating numerous references for me, as well as contributing substantially to the translation and remodelling of two analyses that were published years ago in a now obscure publication that is no longer available. Thanks, too, to Margaret Raftery, who encouraged me to consider recasting and relating them to my recent work, and to Manuela Lovisa, who pointed us in the right direction when we needed professional advice.

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