Paradoxical Poems


I'm looking for poets or poems that specifically deal with paradox

within language. The best example of this I can give is Wislawa

Szymborska's poem The Three Oddest Words.

The Three Oddest Words

When I pronounce the word Future,

the first syllable already belongs to the past.

When I pronounce the word Silence,

I destroy it.

When I pronounce the word Nothing,

I make something no non-being can hold.

Other possible themes include strange loops/recursive structures

within poems, eloquently written paradoxes, impossibilities or poems

that deal with oddities in language.

Can you locate any poems that deal with these themes and send me the

links, or else suggest poets/poems that I could investigate?



Request for Question Clarification bypafalafa-ga

I don't have my copy of Goedel, Escher, Bach handy, but that book has

lots of examples from all walks of life — math, art, music, as

reflected in the title, but lots of literary material as well.

Worth thumbing through — I bet you'll find a lot of things of interest.


Clarification of Question bytopless_bard-ga

Thanks people,

The ideas in Goedel, Escher, Bach are very much in the direction that

I'm looking in, but they tend to be framed in mathematical rather than

literary terms. They ideas are also often intended to give the reader

a direct understanding of a concept, rather than an allusion to or

parable of the ideas. I'm looking for these poems to set to music as

part of a song cycle, so they have to all run along a similar theme.

Paradoxes, oppositions in language or our understanding of what is

logical and rational are they types of things I'm looking for, and

especially expressed in a succinct, clear and eloquent manner. I know

this is very specific, but I'm quite open to anything that is in this

direction, so be creative!

Clarification of Question bytopless_bard-ga

Another example of a suitable text is Emily Dickenson's poem:

COULD mortal lip divine

The undeveloped freight

Of a delivered syllable,

?T would crumble with the weight.

…just to give you a bit more to go on!

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