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“Speak Poems” by Jason Edward Lewis, Bruno Nadeau, Jim Andrews, David Jhave Johnston, J.R. Carpenter, and Aya Karpinska
This suite of poems by several prominent writers in the e-lit community was written using the Speak app, an authoring system developed by Lewis and Nadeau. This is the first in the P.o.E.M.M series (Poems for Excitable Mobile Media), a series of apps designed to explore the expressive, artistic, and publication potential of Apple’s iOS computational environment, Store, and touchscreen devices. The app opens to “What They Speak When They Speak to Me,” Lewis & Nadeau’s original touchscreen poem for large installations. The app offers other poems as well as the option for readers to explore the system by entering texts. Considering the effort that goes into creating computational frameworks for e-lit works, it is a great idea to open them up for further writerly interventions. It is therefore worthwhile to see what four talented writers have done and how their own poetics and thematic concerns are expressed through this framework. The main observable variables are font and lines of text, which readers access in different portions and sequences.
- In “Character,”Jim Andrews writes meta textual lines from the personified poem’s voice that focus the reader’s attention on the interface.
- Jhave’s “Let Me Tell You What Happened” reveals fragments of a situation that most people would find difficult to speak about.
- Carpenter juxtaposes two very different conceptual frames evoked by her poem’s title, “Muddy Mouth.”
- Karpinska’s “The Color of Your Hair Is Dangerous” explores linguistic slippages resulting from speaking multiple languages.
It is worth noting that all five poets (including Lewis) engage the theme of speech, structuring their lines to allow readers to intuit their structure. They help map out the framework’s rhetorical potential.
Featured in ELO 2013: Chercher le Texte Virtual Gallery