Thursday, February 19, 2009

Poetry and Code on a Sunday afternoon

Click for animation

This Thursday, I had the opportunity to participate in a talk given by Stephanie Strickland on Digital Poetry. This is a poetry that does as Strickland herself would put it. In an essay entitled "Poetry and the Digital World*," she writes:

"Born-digital poetry is a “next staging” that has arrived, an infant art, practiced throughout the world and now affecting print itself. Known variously as electronic, digital, cyber, hypermedial, hypertextual, ergodic, or net literature, it can be searched out using the full set of these terms."

"Electronic poetry differs from traditional work in several respects that make it a “next staging,” and not simply a recapitulation onscreen of the important experimental poetry techniques of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Digital poetry does things rather than says things. It can be a poetry of performative signs. It often requires that one operate it like an appliance or play it as one would an instrument or game. Sometimes what it generates or displays is unpredictable and irreproducible—only the productive rules able to be known." (p.1)

On Thursday, I wanted to capture the spirit of the poetry by returning the words and images back to the digital world as she spoke to her audience gathered on the second floor of an old building on Duke's East campus. As we listened to her speak the words of her poems in Zone: Zero, and watched the animated images of nature, Strickland encouraged us to embrace the text in order to find its referents. Poetry in this form, has no beginning or end. So start anywhere. Read the words that appear on the water surface, or let the words be read by the water. Move with great rapidity like a frog, or play in the Vniverse. Enjoy!

My live blog of the presentation is below with more links to Strickland's digital work. Just Click on the file and hit Replay.

*Poetry & the Digital World, English Language Notes Special Issue:Experimental Literary Education, forthcoming 2009