This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
Open “Galactic Tides by Night” by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries
I knew it!
Whatever else the work of YHCHI is, it is also poetry. What else to call language so deliberately chosen, portioned, formatted, and delivered on a schedule to audiences? The two-dimensional visual formatting of the page using line breaks, stanzas, and spatial arrangements has to change when arranged along a fourth dimension: time.
And so poetry comes full circle, because the visual formatting of poetry on the page (lines, stanzas, etc.) was designed to capture oral performances in ways that could be reproduced by readers in their own oral performance. According to Pinsky, the “medium of poetry is a human body: the column of air inside the chest, shaped into signifying sounds in the larynx and the mouth. In this sense, poetry is just as physical or bodily an art as dancing” (8).
So what is the medium of the e-poem? The cyborg or posthuman body. What else can we call the interconnected entity that is partly a computer’s hardware, software, and network connection and partly a body whose visual and auditory attention is commandeered by works such as those produced by YHCHI?
The speaker in “Galactic Tides by Night” is faced with an absurd situation that escalates into Kafkaesque and poetic madness, yet handled with characteristic humor and aplomb. This poem takes on the question of how society defines poetry and how the work of YHCHI fits within the narrow confines of a traditional page-to-oral-performance view, such as expressed by Pinsky (though he does recognize “other conceptions of poetry”).
Scheduled to Pink Martini’s groovy “No Hay Problem,” this poem is refreshingly self-deprecating and at times so funny you’ll have to LOL.