These two multimedia poems appear as links 1 and 2 in a page featuring Mary Anne Breeze’s (aka. Mez) work in Cauldron & Net, Volume 2. Both poems are great early examples of her writing style and poetics.
“Birdfall” deconstructs a single narrative sentence written in conventional English and slowly transforming it into mezangelle. As you scroll down the window to read each line and prose poetry paragraph, the language becomes stranger as she inserts extended passages in brackets inside of words, shifts spelling to homophones with different meanings, adds self-referential metatext that suggests links, and more. She uses animated GIFs in the background and foreground to signal to readers that there there are shifting intentions, language, and narrative— as if the ground on which this text is placed is unstable.
“Clone-ing God & Ange-Lz” is graphical and scheduled in its presentation, transforming language and images in over time in ways that subvert traditional ways of portraying such figures. Short sound loops, animated images, and animated images of text with formatting and language changes enhance her mezangelle language practice with visual information, as can be seen in words like “prayah” (emphasis added 2.high[lite] the you.z of Y.t tXt in “ah”).
Note: This publication from 2000 is unfortunately missing many links, so I have linked to the site as preserved in the Internet Archive.
This narrative poem is arranged on a darkly atmospheric virtual world designed to both creep you out and pull you in through curiosity. Like the proverbial moth, the reader’s attention is drawn towards the brightest things around: white words float in the air, static or rotating. And the lines of mezangelle verse both heighten the dread by telling fragments of a ghostly narrative prefigured by the bus crash site the reader finds herself in and soften the tone with hints about the interface that nudge the fourth wall.
When you encounter work by Mez, the first thing that jumps out is her idiosyncratic use of language, which she calls “mezangelle” and I can describe as a mixture of code, English, ASCII art, and phonetic and rebus writing. You don’t need to be able to read code to understand her writing, but it helps to recognize its basic structure, components, and conventions.For example, the image above uses HTML tagging system to invent codes such as <tremor> <fracture> and <polymer>, organized visually with convention used for tables and lists, and concluding what seems like a painful moment by closing the tags </polymer>, </fracture>, </tremor>.Mez has been drawing attention to language in digital environments since the mid 1990s and while her first-generation digital objects are humble text files distributed through listservs, blogs, and social media, they contain code designed to run in the most flexible processors available: human brains.Featured in Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2.