Quasi-Manifesto: The Horizon and Poetry
by Klaus Groh
VI. Biennale in Mexico-City
The horizon is a real but fictive appearance in the real human environment.
Similarly, poetry-a dividing line between everyday, real and artificial,
artistically constructed language-is a fiction like the existence of the
horizon. Poetry and the horizon are parallel orders of thought.
1. The horizon is a visible, unreal border.
Borders make activities possible, with the goal or achieving them, or of
crossing them. Every border crossing is an extension of human intelligence, a
furthering of human activity, thus the only motor for progressive thought and
2. The horizon is an apparent line that divides the sky from the sea and the
The horizon is a border that isn’t there. It divides above from below, sky from
earth, what exists from what is fictive. The limit from below, the measurable
land, really is real; the limit from above, that sheer immeasurable sky with the
entire universe, is of course fictively present but basically never visible,
never absolutely measurable. Here new discoveries are made daily, that revise
and extend all prior results. Similarly, experimental poetry is a permanently
open, tense mainspring driving poetic activity.
3. The horizon is the visual circle when one looks forward.
The view is reduced to the horizon through the corresponding lateral impediment
of the visual circle. Only through movement (of the head) does an expansion of
the visual circle follow. In poetry it is the respectively learned, known,
recognized reach of the readable and understandable extract of the constructed,
artistic, artful, aesthetic working of language and language material. To this
belongs the related area of language notation, from writing as a known, learned
skill to the reciprocal arrangement of signs; from pictograms to archetypal
figures. This is all simultaneously the entire research area of experimental
4. On regarding the horizon, the viewer is always in the middle.
As also with the horizontal viewing of the world and environment, the active
viewer finds himself with language dealings as the one who is alone in the
middle point of the event. It makes no difference whether it is then pure
communication or also simple information on verbal language levels. Referring to the horizon, only by himself can the viewer discover, perceive, or fashion
something, because only that comes into question which his personal field of
vision indicates. That alone is the entire business at hand, which no one else
can recognize or see at the same moment. Poetic results are subjective,
individual expressions with individual, subjective principles of composition, as
well in the visual and performing arts. As with all “discoveries” in art, there
is no binding measure of quality. Readiness for dialogue is the principle of
5. The horizon divides the celestial dome in two. The celestial dome, again as a helpful fiction, comprises the entirety: the real as well as the fictively constructed. Here again, this entirety is the universe with all its human contents, which are simply necessary for human existence, from a real, tactile dimension to that which stems from the human spirit, from human intelligence. Man needs poetry as a source of strength for spiritual training in intelligent expression. Similarly, the horizon is necessary simply for an orientation in space, whether in shipping, for example, where an orientation around a fictive orientation sign would lead to fatalities. This means that the entire area of poetry is superfluous for the purely vegetative, for mere animal existence. Poetry is a fictive source of energy for communicative, intelligent coexistence. Thus, from fiction a real largeness proceeds.
6. There are the natural and the apparent horizons. If one reduces the whole to the proximate, directly measurable area of a real landscape, then from a constant position the horizon assumes a fixed, geometric, geographic size. Using a measurement of distance, one is in the position to establish one’s own standpoint and the end of the visible area with numbers.
Thus, the horizon at 50 meters altitude is exactly 27 kilometers away from the
viewer, at 100 meters altitude exactly 38 kilometers away, and at 1,000 meters
altitude exactly 120 kilometers away. If one gained such a definite knowledge in
the realm of poetry, whether through study, much experience with the phenomenon, a broad open-mindedness for communicative experiments, or one’s own successful probing into other possibilities for appropriation, then for many it would no longer be strange or unusual. Poetry steadily expands; conversely, the individual horizon of the poetic deed similarly expands.
7. Horizon = scales
The horizon is straight. It stretches from the left to the right of the visual
field; if one turns, the field of vision is enclosed in a circle. There is no
beginning and no end; an interruption can occur anywhere; I can hear or see from
all directions, so that then in a given spot at the same instant a new beginning
starts up. The horizon describes an endless straight line without beginning or
end, a line as in a cricle, a circling line. Poetry has steadily developed
itself in an absolutely straight line since the first beginnings of the simplest
human verbal cmmunications, always in a direction straight ahead. Reversions to the past in poetry arise only where defects in human-mental processes emerge: among the mentally ill and those with brain injuries. Language development is compressed, from its first beginnings until the perfection of poetry. The steady development of language ability quickly perfects itself anew in every single person progressing from a small child to adulthood.
Poetry is a part of human being. Like the horizon with its unavoidable aspect,
poetry plays a role in understanding the world and the environment.