This award-winning long poem by Cayley shifts in and out of intelligibility as it morphs from one stanza to the next, one group of letters at a time. Yet even when the traditional meanings of words are left behind, the generated words gesture towards meaning, especially as the synthesized voices read them aloud. Some of the most mellifluous moments in this poem occur when the voices read nonsense words and sparsely clustered letters.
The version of this long poem published in the Electronic Literature Collection, Vol. 1 is a Quicktime movie of the work as run in a classic Macintosh computer using the Macintalk Pro voice synthesizer software to read the text, displayed and algorithmically morphed from one stanza to another using Hypercard (for a full description and a downloadable Hypercard version, visit Cayley’s page). As computer systems develop beyond the corporate interests required to support the computational conditions necessary to run the Hypercard version, this Quicktime version will become the only one to be viewable, changing the nature of the electronic poem.
Here’s a piece to earmark for long term preservation.