This poignant poem uses music, scheduling, and slight textual animation to tell the story of a shy boy. The arrangement of lines in time and space lead readers to experience the poem cinematically and spatially. Each line— and portion of a line— adds a layer to the “shy boy” it describes, leading the reader into an experience of the work as designed by Swiss. The story’s sadness is enhanced by the scheduling and music as each little portion adds to its tone. Wear headphones for a more emotionally powerful reception of the poem and be patient with its delicate pace to experience it in all its heart wrenching simplicity.
This delightfully cinematic poem from 2001 is very much of the now, or as Ezra Pound famously said of literature, “news that STAYS news.” The poem connects several trains of thought, aurally and through temporal juxtaposition, dealing with themes of war, changing generations, naps, routine, media, and all the noise that drowns us out. The verbal part of the poem is delivered crisply through the audio track along with a catchy beat, and the visual language emphasizes certain words and phrases layered over composite images and video. Layers and loudness are an important strategy, especially when the music’s volume rises to overwhelm the voice before subsiding to allow the speaker to utter a final line (and visual information) that helps pull the poem together.