AIn the overview study the author outlines 'the poetics of chaos', which is programmatically present in Polish, Czech and Slovak cultural context approximately from the 1960s. He also asks whether this term can be understood as a legitimate and a correct literary-aesthetic category or whether we should rather speak about an estranging metaphor which arches over the problematic of dynamic, non-linear and pulsating structures. Although it is a term describing processes in natural sciences (quantum physics, deterministic chaos and fractal geometry) it is gradually emerging in human sciences (especially in philosophy, aesthetics and literary science). In a short historical sketch, the author of the study follows the beginnings of this poetics in modern art, in the avant-garde, in formalism and in Czech structuralism. He considers Mukarovský's article 'Intentionality and Non-Intentionality in Art' (Zámernost a nezámernost v umeni) to be the key text in which Mukarovský argues that a work of art as a whole is not only a product of an intentional creative process but of many things that transcend intentionality. The article further explores the influence of 'the poetics of chaos' on theoretical thinking in the 1980s and in the 1990s. From the diachronic point of view the author calls the attention to the oscillatory character of this poetics. There are periods in which the need for a formal and semantic unification stresses the basic creative principle. At other times this formal and semantic unity is disturbed. The preference for aesthetic categories which are closer to 'the poetics of chaos' is typical of transitory periods. After they have gradually faded, came the need for synthesis, harmony and wholeness.