In this conceptual piece, Goldsmith represents every word he spoke for a week in an HTML version based on the 487-page book version. He makes elegant use of the CSS link tags to make every sentence invisible, appearing only when the pointer hovers over it, which reminds us of the ephemerality of the spoken word. Interestingly enough, this isn’t really a soliloquy: it is dialogue in which the other person’s speech has been omitted, so part of the pleasure of this text is to infer who the other people are and what they are saying.
This award winning group of sixteen poems about a trip to Vietnam are organized hypertextually as a cluster of images of little odds and ends: a candy wrapper, a ticket, photograph, and so on. Each image will lead you to poems, short Shockwave animations, visual poems, hypertexts, a set of images, all experiences that will lead you to reflect on the politics, poverty, and culture of Vietnam.
These three works all use geniwate’s “concatenation engine,” a page architecture designed in Director and inspired by William Burrough’s cut-up. The first one, “Concatenation,” creates a responsive space of exploded letters which generate phrases when clicked upon by the reader following algorithms that randomize word selection and arrangement on the screen. “When You Reach Kyoto,” places the engine in collaboration with Brian Kim Stefans’ photography and text and was published as part of the Machine Poetics“page_space project.”
In this collaborative work, Edward Falco writes a series of texts inspired by Mary Pinto’s photograms, and Will Stauffer-Norris designed the Flash hypertext that displays the texts over the photograms on a tight schedule. The “digital tales” point towards fiction, but they are really prose poems that contain elements of a narrative that a reader might put together from the stream-of-consciousness lyrical language of the texts. Since scheduling of the textual display only allows the reader a few seconds to read each text before they have to open it again, it reinforces the fragmented thought process of someone exploring a landscape, or series of landscapes. Allow yourself to lose yourself in these spaces and see what you find.
This Flash hypertext poem is elegant in its simplicity. Its interface— a night sky with bluish stars that reveal narrative poems— allows its readers to explore the thematically interconnected stories as they choose. The narrative poems are minimally formatted— free verse center justified in the middle of the screen— focusing attention on stories of the challenges of life and love on the characters. The ambient sounds and introductory movie with a voice reading the opening poem in Arabic— the lines of which are associated with each star— set a dreamy, meditative tone for the poem.
This hypertext Flash poem written between August and December 2001 by Marjorie Luesebrink (M.D. Coverley is her nom de plume) arranges old photos arranged along an image of LA skyscrapers. Clicking on each leads to an brief sequence in which a photograph of people is juxtaposed with audio and a few lines of narrative poetry, whose display or legibility are scheduled. The black and white photography, unsettling sounds, image transformation, and the stanzas describing lives touched by the transformation of the sky into glass resonate with the impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks on countless lives. This is a powerful, yet delicate work.
This tribute to the work of Jean Pierre Balpe is challenging because the reader must figure out the poem’s logic in order for them to progress through this e-poem. I can imagine many readers will not reach the end of this work, particularly if they cannot read French, and that’s okay, because this piece responds to what Philippe Bootz calls “l’esthétique de la frustration” —the aesthetics of frustration (link).
To enter the space of this poem with the goal to traverse it to the end is to enter into a game with Patrick Burgaud— or the logic and intentions he programmed into his poem. And there are both pleasures and frustrations in this game. Bonne chance!
With this series of collaborative e-poems, Andrews uses the cut up, an important technique in his poetics that aligns him with the work of William Burroughs, Bryon Gysin, Raymond Queneau, and Surrealism. His ingredients include e-mails, quotes, concrete poetry, and essay like writing, lovingly sliced with DHTML programming tools. Jim Andrews and his collaborators prep the texts for stir frying, cutting and linking where they see fit. The computer provides the energy to run the scripts and heat up the surface on which the texts are displayed. The reader’s hand, by way of the mouse and its virtual pointer on the screen’s surface, stirs the texts, cooking them up into new combinations and possibilities for his/her consumption.
For more on the Stir Fry Texts and a close reading of “Spastext” read “Cut Up, Heat, Stir” in my dissertation (pgs. 184-205).
In this piece, Jim Andrews curates and meditates on a selection of proto-digital poems by Lionel Kearns from the 1960s to the present. Heavily influenced by McLuhan, Kearns intuited that “if one messes around enough with the physical form of language (either spoken or written), eventually you get to the point where it (the language) drops its load of conventional reference” and created works of visual and sound poetry “right on that edge, where language begins to work into either music or visual art.”