“The River Dart” & “Babble Brook” by J.R. Carpenter

Screen capture from “The River Dart” & “Babble Brook” by J.R. Carpenter.  A twitter account with the picture of a river in the background and profile picture. Some of the postings read: “Hail on magnolia leaves. These and other improbably sounds.”, “All hail the cold rain”, “It can halt in the sun for longer than one might imagine”, “Sudden sun hail shower”.
Open “The River Dart” & “Babble Brook” by J.R. Carpenter

This poetic performance on Twitter is a series of observations focused on the Dart river and its environs in Devon, England. The earliest tweets on this account, which started on November 19, 2009, focused on the practicalities of walking along the river, and rapidly settled into a language based study of the river and its environs. The tweets exhibit a curious mixture of subjective and objective perceptions, writing from a very personal perspective without falling into Romanticism. It is more like Olson’s dictum that “ONE PERCEPTION MUST IMMEDIATELY AND DIRECTLY LEAD TO A FURTHER PERCEPTION,” but captured and delivered over time via Twitter.

The River Dart’s Twitter stream flows also into a Facebook account named Babble Brook (see the announcement below).

“Babble Brook” itself flows from a larger project, “Tributaries & Text-Fed Streams: A Feed-Reading of The Capliano Review” a Web 2.0 engagement of a special issue of that journal.

The central metaphor is that of flowing rivers and language: streams of consciousness captured in strings of words gathering into larger flows, which branch off into tributaries and travel visibly over the land and disappear into the sea currents of the unconscious. Whether we’re aware of them or not, ideas expressed and released into the networks of human communication, creating ripples, currents, and affecting humanity’s cognitive climate.

Carpenter activates these metaphors in many of her works, embedding ancient textual currents as marquees, shaping endless variability into generative streams of text, and this idea is at the heart of “The River Dart.” A tidal river, the Dart doesn’t simply flow in one direction— out from Carpenter’s mind— and just as the tides push back against the current, so does the context of the river and its seasonal rhythms blend into her writing. A single poetic articulation wouldn’t do justice to the ebb and flow of these ideas: they require serial expression.

And by doing so in social media platforms, we can allow them to flow into our Twitter and/or Facebook streams, refreshing the quotidian with a little poetry.

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