“Blue Hyacinth” by Pauline Masurel and Jim Andrews

Screen capture of Blue Hyacinth:  M M M M  Blue Hyacinth Pauline Masurel Jim Andrews  V I S P O Stir Frys Tabitha flexes against the collar . I try to sound as though I know what I'm talking about. in the alleyway. I just like the look of the grey mare; the bookie can tell, it was probably obvious from the moment I walked in. the hyacinth itself or secreted  When it happens the noise insists before,  ...it goes on for months  another in the corner is smoking. She's watching the race . Rather, it's a subtle matter of class, . when she can't gain entry, Across the road clubbers spill out on to the pavements - he comes. he goes. she waits  for weeks.  after all.  she picks her way back across the landing  - Do you want this,  I could report it  slowly, sadly who would care? and begins to stroke it through the sticky tangle of her hair.

Open “Blue Hyacinth” by Pauline Masurel and Jim Andrews

Slightly modifying the “cut-up” technique of Dadaist and Modernist writers in her digital work, “Blue Hyacinth,” Pauline Masurel encourages her readers not to destroy the original four poems, but rather jumble them together, stir them up, and weave them in a way that shares in the creative process of generating an individualized text. By presenting “Blue Hyacinth” as a stir-fry work (using Jim Andrews’ “Stir Fry Texts” framework) that allows readers to reflect on the original poems, Masurel is changing the author-reader relationship. Masurel ensures that readers become extensions of herself by encouraging readers to manipulate her writings and fashion a text that becomes less a traditional example of poetry and more a collaborative piece shared between individual reader and writer. With “Blue Hyacinth,” Masurel crafts a space where traditional print culture roles fade and are replaced by their mutable digital counterparts. Never once just a reader or an author, those that encounter “Blue Hyacinth” are able to exercise a semblance of autonomy that is novel to texts within the digital medium.

Masurel’s four poems within “Blue Hyacinth” all are able to bleed together due, in part, to simple and vague syntax. Wanting more discontinuity “in events rather than grammar,” Masurel’s text is more focused on providing the reader control over the action and characters of the four separate poems. For example, in “Tabitha flexes against her collar” I am able to alter Masurel’s original text to produce a narrative that is completely my own. By way of random stirring, I produce the following:

Screenshot (1)

An example of the stir-fry method at work.

What originally seems to open with Tabitha the cat (or pet?) padding “softly out of the room” turns quickly into something altogether different when I stir things up. No longer an animal, my version of Tabitha seems to be involved in a tryst with a bouncer (one wonders why she is still wearing that collar). Or, perhaps I am reading far too much into my own creation. That, I argue, is the point.

Masurel seems to establish that her vaguely coherent and cogent poems can be altered by her readers into something that begs for contextualization. The reader then becomes a generator of subplot for the stirred narratives that she creates. The reader may perhaps be taking an incomprehensible narrative (the original) and creating an equally incomprehensible narrative, but then she is tasked to understand the changes that she has made to the poems—filling in the narrative gaps left by the vague characters and events to see or read what she desires. Doing so gives more of a sense of ownership to the words and phrases that Masurel chose originally. When you stir-fry “Blue Hyacinth,” take note of how much the original poems inform your contextualization and, more importantly, how your freshly stirred poems inform the characters and events of the originals. Where does Masurel’s creation end and yours begin?

ELMCIP logo with text: "Read more about this work at ELMCIP."

Posted in 2002, Adult, DHTML, e-poetry, Electronic Literature Collection, Vol. 1, fiction, mutable, poetry, responsive, static, Teen, Vispo.com Tagged with: ,

New Contributor: Kyle Brett

I ♥ E-Poetry welcomes its new guest contributor, Kyle Brett.
About Kyle Brett  Kyle Brett is a current M.A. student at Lehigh University and is a lover of history, coffee, and urban spelunking. Kyle's current research interests include, celebrity in 19th Century American literature, inhabitance and geographies of writing, Lovecraftian mythos and popular cultural representations of Cthulhu, and spatial and mapping projects in the digital humanities.

Posted in News

“Zig and Zag” by Sérgio Caparelli and Ana Cláudia Gruszynski.


Open “Zig and Zag” by Sérgio Caparelli and Ana Cláudia Gruszynski.

Zig and Zag” is one of ten ciberpoems created by the writer Sérgio Capparelli and the graphic designer Ana Cláudia Gruszynski for “Ciberpoesia” website that features a series of 28 visual poems created by the Brazilian duo. Like “Bembo’s Zoo,” this is more than just digital versions for visual poems also published in a printed book, the ciberpoems of Capparelli and Gruszynski has an important educational role, it catches the interest of children and youth for digital poetry through creative and stimulating presentation.

In “Zig and Zag”, a mesh consisting of the words zig and zag repeated and overlapping each other forming two fishes that moves incessantly on a blue screen that simulates an aquatic environment. In the poem, between the movements of two fish emerge six verses (my translation):

zig and zag went out
without direction
is here
not here
and disappeared on the horizon
without reaching the conclusion


The poem created in Flash programming is designed with simplicity and stylized lines. The grace of shapes and subtlety movements of the two characters mistaken for the verses, are their greatest asset because they delight and stimulate readers (young in years and of heart) to venture into the wonderful universe of digital poetry.

Featured in: Children’s E-Literature.

Posted in 2000, Adult, Brazil, Children, e-poetry, Entries, Flash, kinetic, Teen Tagged with: ,

Children’s E-Literature

Frame from "Bembo's Zoo"

Still image from “Bembo’s Zoo”

As a father of two children, aged 4 and 7, I’m interested in how electronic literature can help them develop digital literacy, beyond the traditional training in paper-based literacy they receive in preschool and school. Let’s face it, while it is important for children to learn to produce legible longhand, they should probably also learn to type without looking at the keyboard. More importantly, I want them to be exposed to works that help them develop digital literacy. In this entry, I will list some works that my children that have enjoyed while they learn to engage language in digital environments. Read more ›

Posted in Children, Resources

I ♥ Bots

I love bots

Open “Genre: Bot

If you have been reading my daily entries on bots, and have explored the resource that compiles them, you may have noticed the great variety, sophistication, and artistry that characterizes this emergent genre. With these daily postings, I have tried to take a snapshot of a vibrant moment for this artistic and literary practice, knowing all along that it is growing too quickly to fully capture. Read more ›

Posted in Adult, bot, CFP, News, Twitter

“Save the Humanities (@SaveHumanities)” by Mark Sample

 Save the Humanities @SaveHumanities  Daily tips on how to stop the crisis in the humanities. Real solutions! (Machine Generated by @samplereality)

Open “Save the Humanities (@SaveHumanities)” by Mark Sample

At face value this bot seeks solutions to what many call “the crisis of the Humanities” by offering “tips on how to stop the crisis in the humanities. Real solutions!” Its operation is conceptually straightforward: it completes a sentence template that begins with “To save the humanities, we need to” and then completes the sentence, I imagine with the results of a search in Twitter for tweets that contain “we need to” or “we must.” This creates grammatically correct sentences that offer solutions that vary in their fit or appropriateness. For example: Read more ›

Posted in 2013, Adult, bot, Entries, mutable, responsive, scheduled, static, Twitter Tagged with:

“Snowclone-a-Minute (@snowcloneminute)” by Bradley Momberger and “Pizza Clones (@pizzaclones)” by Allison Parrish

These two bots are based on the concept of snowclones, which are a linguistic phenomenon best described by Erin O’Connor in her wonderful blog and resource “The Snowclones Database.”

A snowclone is a particular kind of cliche, popularly originated by Geoff Pullum. The name comes from Dr. Pullum’s much-maligned “If Eskimos have N words for snow, X surely have Y words for Z”. An easier example might be “X is the new Y.” The short definition of this neologism might be n. fill-in-the-blank headline.

Fill in the blank mnemonic phrases? This is ripe for a bot treatment. Read more ›

Posted in 2013, 2014, Adult, bot, Entries, mutable, scheduled, static, Teen, Twitter Tagged with: , ,

Juxtaposition Bots: @TwoHeadlines, @oneiropoiesis, and @AndNowImagine

The three bots reviewed in this entry all carry out essentially the same technique– they create a tweet based on the juxtaposition of material from two different sources–  yet produce output that feels quite different. The reasons for this are partly thematic, partly due to the data source, and partly because of the way the join the juxtaposed elements.

An important early bot that uses this technique is Ranjit Bhatnagar’s @Pentametron, which retweets iambic pentameter tweets joined by end rhyme and creating surprisingly cohesive and occasionally humorous couplets. Juxtaposition is also a poetic technique that became prominent with Modernism and is a central strategy in Ezra Pound’s poetry and poetics. This entry will analyze “Two Headlines” by Darius Kazemi, “Dreams, juxtaposed” by Allison Parrish, and “And Now Imagine” by Ivy Baumgarten. Read more ›

Posted in 2013, Adult, bot, Entries, mutable, scheduled, static, Teen Tagged with: , , ,

“#FalseFlag Bot (@FalseFlagBot_)” by Ben Abraham

 #FalseFlag Bot Tweets Following Followers 25.9K 4 546 #FalseFlag Bot @FalseFlagBot_  Replacement for @FalseFlagBot R.I.P. #nWo #illuminati #falseflag  right behind you!

Open “#FalseFlag Bot (@FalseFlagBot_)” by Ben Abraham

This deceptively simple bot searches Twitter for the #FalseFlag hashtag and retweets the results. Here’s an example of its output:

The concept of the false flag is born from mistrust of the government and lends itself to elaborate conspiracy theories about covert operations on its own soil which are then blamed on terrorists. During the Bot Summit, Ben Abraham discussed this concept and explained some of his interest in redoing the original @FalseFlagBot, as seen in this video. Some of the conspiracy theory hashtags he mentions and a few others were conveniently listed (and retweeted by the original @FalseFlagBot) in this tweet. Read more ›

Posted in 2013, Adult, bot, Entries, responsive, static, Twitter Tagged with:

“Real Human Praise (@RealHumanPraise)” by Rob Dubbin and Leonard Richardson

 Real Human Praise Tweets Following  Followers 164K 0  14.7K Real Human Praise @RealHumanPraise  Legitimate reviews from 100% people, every two minutes.  Scott McNally Lee Skallerup BestOf TheBots Bot Bot  Followed by Scott McNally, Lee Skallerup, BestOf TheBots and Bot Bot.      Real Human Praise ‏@RealHumanPraise 40s      As much as it is a comedy in the classic Tracy/Hepburn mold, "Huckabee" is very much a drama of the moment. #PraiseFOX     Details     Real Human Praise ‏@RealHumanPraise 2m      Smith's best comedy. #PraiseFOX     Details

Open “Real Human Praise (@RealHumanPraise)” by Rob Dubbin and Leonard Richardson

This bot takes Tweet-sized snippets of text from movie reviews aggregated in Rotten Tomatoes, identifies nouns in the subject position, and replaces those with the names of right-wing pundits who appear regularly on the Fox News Channel, attaching the ironically intended hashtag #PraiseFOX. The bot was created essentially as joke for the politically charged comedy show The Colbert Report, as a reaction to the news that right-wing media had staff dedicated to refuting anything threatening to their ideological point of view, as explained by Stephen Colbert in the clip below. Read more ›

Posted in 2013, Adult, bot, Entries, mutable, scheduled, static, Twitter Tagged with: ,