week 3-1: 2 Samuel 18:33 (atmosphere)

my son, my son

You can, with your little hands, drag me into your grave -you have the right — I myself who am joined with you, I let myself go — but if you wish, the two of us, let us make… an alliance -a hymen, magnifcent – and the life left in me I will use to…- so not mother then?ceremony – coffin – etc.there we saw (the father) the whole material side – which lets us tell ourselves at need – ah! well yes! it is all there – no fear for me thinking of something else (the reformation of his spirit, which is eternal – can wait (granted but eternity through my life)_____father -shape his spirit (he absent, alas! as we would have shaped him better present but sometimes when it all seems to be going too well – as an ideal – cry out – in the mother’s tone, she who has become attentive – This is not enoughI want him, him – and not me – 

my dad first introduced me to eric whitacre on the westernmost tip of portugal, in april of 2004, more or less 5 weeks before the cabrillo college chorus sang ‘i thank you god for most this amazing day’ at my sister’s funeral.

Continue reading week 3-1: 2 Samuel 18:33 (atmosphere)

Week Four: open.ended

I’ve long loved the aesthetic of Aya Karpinska’s/Daniel C. Howe’s three-dimensional poem space in open.ended. Although I’m not sure that there’s a substantial, thorough-going literary engagement here (lines such as “Eyes closed / I am / Anywhere” don’t particularly grab me), open.ended … entrances me. Here’s how the authors describe their work:

With real-time 3D rendering & dynamic text generation, open.ended attempts to refigure the poetic experience through spatialization & interaction. As visitors manipulate a joystick to control interlocking geometric surfaces, stanzas, lines, & words move slowly in & out of focus, while dynamically updating text maintains semantic coherence. Order is deliberately ambiguous & multiple readings encouraged as meaning is actively & spatially constructed in collaborative fashion & new potentials for juxtaposition, association & interpretation are revealed.

Continue reading Week Four: open.ended

Week 4: Chance

Over the next week, introduce variance and/or chance into the structure.  (Many of you are already moving down this path).But I am interested in the critical moments of the piece? Can you identify a key turning point in the narrative of the work?  How is the turning point marked through formal decisions?  What is the content of this turn?  How would variance or chance change the piece?  [Use any means or media to communicate your insights to the rest of the group.]

Week Three: Paterson as a Three-Dimensional Poem

I’m late for a very important date with you all, but all the same: the assignment for Week Three prompts me to continue on with my thinking about Williams (another essay for you! but it’s what I’m working through right now—I can’t help myself), the way the variable foot creates a three dimensional poem (that, because it’s 3D, you might as well touch, feel!), and how his work sits next to (literally next to) a digital poem that also tries to be three dimensional. I don’t know what Week Four’s assignment is going to be BUT I’m guessing it’ll be broad enough to allow me to write out a nice long reading of a digital poem to echo my reading of Williams. I’m fascinated with how Williams, of all people, a canonical King of the bookbound poem, seems to be struggle to accomplish on the page what simply was not yet possible. But at the same time I’m fascinated with my own competely problematic impulse to be a technological determinist….Anyways, here’s what I’ve been thinking about Williams and Paterson for the last two weeks.

Continue reading Week Three: Paterson as a Three-Dimensional Poem

week 2-1: contextualizing timing

despite pervasive feelings of low-level guilt associated with my hiatus from the texts of this hyper space // it occurs to me that this too is the context of my involvement with Mallarmé’s tombeau… and hiswe startwe start againwe move in on it, towards poeticizing it, to shape the shape of it (but it bleeds/escapes embodiment)the timeline moves (and movies) like a ribbon (anachronistically: film reels), i take her dv camera out one day and tape (billy has a word for these words, what was it? i must ask him when he returns) the drive out to the cliff (but you must wait for this, for me to upload/edit/upload and move back again (yet forward) in time to week one : timing (which is its context too, and atmosphere as well)to here: which is where context exploded into realtime, into space (and escape):Contextualizing (time and place)“more soon”

A slow, pervasive, crumbling feeling…

After a month in the suburbs of St. Paul, I am happy to be back home in Adrian, Michigan.  Instead of getting too texty, I decided to go for a walk and take a picture of rustbelt decomposition.  Different from the creative destruction of the suburbs, the sort of industrial decline that characterizes Michigan tends to convey a certain feeling of heaviness, as through cities are just settling back into the ground from whence they sprang. 

Continue reading A slow, pervasive, crumbling feeling…

game, game experience

Recently, one of my creations, game, game, game and again game has gone viral. Meaning the artwork has had over four million hits. Wow is right. And the work is highly experimental, with a retro game interface for somewhat abstract poetry (words).

I bring this up because the comments people write on blogs, forums or send to me directly can be lumped into a few categories. 1. What drugs am I on (the sad cliche that equates drug use with creativity). 2. they dont understand it, but they like it and it makes them think 3. they hate it and find it arty (to the point of the occasional threat) 4. they like parts of it…but not all….and want to experience more.

And these comments signal that one of digital poetry’s powers, its draws, its allure, is that it offers people who would normally never read poetry, a place, a foothold, a bridge to jump into the poem. There are, as Davin says, feelings they can access immediately via sounds, or movement, or interface, or play etc…. and once that bridge pulls them in…they can explore the more experimental bits….maybe not understanding, but at least feeling and thinking and experiencing…hmm….that sounds good…if you want you can read some of the comments via a google search:

poems feel like….

What does a poem feel like? Eating. A poem feels like eating. What does the poem eat? The poem eats experience. And yet the poem is an experience. The poem therefore eats itself.


I think our lovely Davin is on to something here. Poetry has always been born from and constricted by the print page, the linear textual form. And yet, as I have argued before, texts are not simply words. Everything is a text. Signs, motions, sounds, interactions, all things are texts, communicating creatures. And digital poems eat these many and nearly infinite supply of texts (experiences) to create a wholly new experience.


But then the question I pose to everyone here is….what makes a digital poem, an electronic poem…an electronic poem? Or to put it a better way…..why couldn’t we say that all net artworks, new media artworks are digital poems? If we extend the idea of text to all experiences and objects and signs etc…then all creative works could be construed as digital poems.  


Or do we say that digital poetry must either follow directly from a print poem..ie a translation of that print poem into movement and interface?  Or do we say that digital poems are simply another way of displaying, albeit in an interactive way, word based poetry?


Or maybe the difference is in the construction…how the artist/writer builds their creation.  Which brings

 us back to Davin’s point/question and feelings. Maybe the digital poetry is creating experiences whose components are those feelings, those images and imagery, those metaphoric movements.


Hmm……more to think about…..but what are other’s thoughts?

A Feeling Event: Boredom, Regret, Lack of Poetic Value?

This event demands not only a series of repetitions across years, but insinuates by including the date included, that a huge and elastic group has repeated this event year after year. Events repeat on a more fundamental level as well allowing performers to produce “events” (in quotation marks) because it is a different structure now: I am following — following instructions; I am mimicking as a form of event-making. I did not invent the constraints in 1966, but I am acting it out now as if quoting the events of, say, Dick Higgins, Ken Friedman, Yoko Ono, or others. Peter Frank’s definition of seven different types of events already identifies internal structures, but the issues of signature, and time, of events gets little if any attention. The structure of repetition relates to the geographic distance (as opposed to the immediacy and presence) and musicality (of works waiting to be performed by others). Still, these issues do not completely express the inherent “event-ness” (in quotation marks) of the event structure. It does not exist as an original that one can recover like art historians recover the Mona Lisa, or even trace its provenance. Events become events as “events,” and that has significant implications for the meaning, signature, and social function.

Continue reading A Feeling Event: Boredom, Regret, Lack of Poetic Value?

The Imago&Logos Duality of the Context

“Writing’s visual forms possess an irresolvably dual identity in their material existence as images and their function as elements of language. Because of this fundamental dualism, writing is charged with binary qualities. It manifests itself with the phenomenal presence of the imago and yet performs the signifying operations of the logos” (Johanna Drucker, “The Art of the Written Image,” Figuring the Word, 57)


While analysing the visual properties of writing in a captivating essay on “The Art of the Written Image,” Johanna Drucker perceives writing as encompassing two layers of signification: the visual and the linguistic codes, or, what she labels, the imago&logos duality. And the author goes on conceiving a definition that translates writing’s visual/verbal substance as she explains “it [writing] is both an object and an act, a sign and a basis for signification, a thing in itself and something coming into being, a production and a process, an inscription and the activity of inscribing” (57). To decipher writing’s dual nature requires to identify and interpret the meaning located at the intersection where the two binary qualities manifest themselves for the logos of writing ( the text’s linguistic content) intermingle with the imago of writing (the shape of the letter, the space between words and sentences, the arrangement of the text as a whole on a page). Thus, writing’s discourse gains complexity and, consequently, not only the text is necessary for its understanding, instead this newly-formed textual system in which the richness of signification broguht by the imago of writing comes into play as well. In this light, the context displayed by Mallarme’s “A Throw of the Dice”can be identified with the text and its placement on the page, or as Drucker says, “the space of the page as a space and his careful measure of the relative weight of words as forms on the page” (115).

Page three of the poem, the one brought into discussion for the theme on temporality, starts on the left page with “BE that the ABYSS whitened slack maddened on the slope slides desperately a wing its own al-” (each word on a single line with the exception of “slides desperately” placed one near the other) and continues on the right page adding to the last word “al-“ its last letters “-ready fallen because the flight was badly planned.” The ending lines on this page “its gaping deep so much that the shell of a ship pitched from side to side . . . “ foresees a “shipwreck” both by means of the linguistic and visual codes in the sense that the single sentence of the poem stretched on these two pages lacks any punctuation marks as there isn’t a full stop to signal a definite end, instead the poet prefers the use of the ellipsis signaling a suspension point, an endless abyss, which can be visually associated with something that is floating until is dissolved into nothingness or even an unfinished thought. In other words, the context can be located in the poem’s imago& logos duality, which conveys the generally-falling movement of the text. As Mallarme himself confesses in a letter to Andre Gide with regard to the intended effect through his free positioning of words in“A Throw of the Dice,” “Thus this attempt, a first, this groping did not shock you; it is still presented badly. . . . The poem is being printed, now, as I conceive it; regarding the pagination, where all the effect lies . . . The constellation will stand out there, accurately and as much as a printed text can convey, inevitably the appearance of a constellation. The ship passes from the top of one page to the bottom of the other, etc.”