‘Towards a Minor Poetry: Reading Twentieth-Century French Poetry with Deleuze–Guattari and Bakhtin’. Paragraph (2019), 42 (2): 135-153.
Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s analysis of minor literature, deterritorialization and agrammaticality, this article explores the possibility of a ‘minor poetry’, considering various interpretations of the term, and interrogating the value of the distinction between minor poetry and minor literature. The article considers Bakhtin’s work, which offers several parallels to Deleuze and Guattari’s in its consideration of the language system and the place of literature within it, but which also addresses questions of genre. It pursues Christian Prigent’s hypothesis, in contrast to Bakhtin’s account of poetic discourse, that Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of deterritorialization might offer a definition of poetic language. Considering the work of two French-language poets, Ghérasim Luca and Olivier Cadiot, the article argues that the term ‘minor poetry’ gains an additional relevance for experimental twentieth-century poetry which grapples with its own generic identity, deterritorializing established conceptions of poetry, and making ‘minor’ the major poetic discourses on which it is contingent.