Josef Hrdlička: Place and Motion: On Linking Places in Poems

In Physics (IV,4), Aristotle links the question of place to motion: “It’s necessary to consider that place could not be studied, if there was no local motion.” This paper will deal with the question of relation between place and motion in poetry, which can be observed quite early on in the history of literature (Odyssey, Descent of Ishtar into the Underworld). Incentives to move towards a place and, especially, from a place can be provisionally viewed as the different temporality of man and place and the impossibility of fully harmonizing the two. The paper’s main topic will be a reflection on how poets link several places together, either in a single poem or in a collection of poems, in an attempt to create a typology of similar “links” and an organization of places. The conclusion should head towards a plural understanding of landscape as a complex of places where several various patterns operate simultaneously (e. g. the actual appearance of a landscape, cultural history, imaginary layout of places, the poet’s motion, consonance of toponyms). In the paper’s conclusion examples from modern and contemporary poetry will be focused on.

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