Open “Soliloquy” by Kenneth Goldsmith
In this conceptual piece, Goldsmith represents every word he spoke for a week in an HTML version based on the 487-page book version. He makes elegant use of the CSS link tags to make every sentence invisible, appearing only when the pointer hovers over it, which reminds us of the ephemerality of the spoken word. Interestingly enough, this isn’t really a soliloquy: it is dialogue in which the other person’s speech has been omitted, so part of the pleasure of this text is to infer who the other people are and what they are saying.
This is a long work, and even though there are very interesting things to be read, the interface can be fatiguing for extended reading. So here are some strategies to approach this piece:
- If you wish to see the whole text simultaneously as you would in the book, highlight some or all of the text, using the pointer or control-a command.
- You can also read the source code, in which the text appears as a very long line of text, in which every sentence is a link (to the top of the page).
- Use the search function to find specific words within the long poem (try “poetry” for some fascinating discussions).
- Use the browser’s find function (control-f) to highlight specific words within the text and allow you to target your reading.
And while you’re experiencing it, keep in mind that this is conceptual poetry— it is about leading you to engage ideas in and around the work.
Featured in The Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1.