The Poetry of Negligence
Author: Wolcher, L.E.
Source: Liverpool Law Review, Volume 23, Number 2, 2001 , pp. 187-197(11)
Abstract:Poetry and legal rhetoric are both forms of what the ancient Greeks called poēsis: the art of the word. Tradition nonetheless assigns poetry to the realm of art and beauty, and legal rhetoric to the different realm of law and truth. The late William Matthews' poem ``Negligence'' transgresses the boundaries that we have erected between art and law, and beauty and truth. The poem presents a well-crafted piece of legal rhetoric in the form of art. This essay draws out the implications of Matthews' transgression, and suggests that in the end poetry and law have a lot in common: both are forms of manipulation by means of words. The essay develops this connection in order to join with Emmanuel Levinas in calling for a ``breakup in the omnipotence of the logos.''
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: School of Law, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98105-6617, USA
Publication date: 2001-01-01