“Chasing Pandora” by Allyson Cikor, Emily Devereux, Greg Turnbull, Mathew Vickery, and Trent Redmond

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“Chasing Pandora” by Allyson Cikor, Emily Devereux, Greg Turnbull, Mathew Vickery, and Trent Redmond

This hypertext poem included in the 2011 New Media Writing Prize Shortlist (in the Student category) tells the story of a stalker and his victim. The speaker is the stalker who opens a Facebook account under the pseudonym “David Mills” (after typing and deleting “Micheal” from the name field) to be better able to stalk the subject of his obsession, a young Canadian woman called Pandora Oaklear. The stalker is not much of a poet, writing in more or less iambic tetrameter and dimeter, rhyming words like “distance” with “persistence,” and using a rhyme scheme so irregular that it is surely a reflection of his perturbed thought process. He is smart enough to open accounts under multiple pseudonyms and in different cloud-based content hosting services, such as Webnode, Flickr (a Yahoo! service), Facebook, and YouTube (a Google service). Only this disturbing bit of center-justified verse and the focus on the victim weave all these photos, accounts, and videos together, including a newspaper clipping that chillingly gestures towards a blurred boundary between fiction and reality. And it is much worse than the Quicktime audio clip that sets the tone with creepy music.

It is a rough piece, but its concerns are very timely.

Featured in New Media Writing Prize 2011

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