This generative poem produces an expert mashup of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, described in detail by the authors in the introduction to their piece.
Sea and Spar Between is a poetry generator which defines a space of language populated by a number of stanzas comparable to the number of fish in the sea, around 225 trillion. Each stanza is indicated by two coordinates, as with latitude and longitude. They range from 0 : 0 to 14992383 : 14992383.
What is our goal when we read a poem? Do we have an errand to carry out when we approach a text? Is it to traverse it, opening ourselves to the experiences it offers as we explore its psychogeography?
This hypertext poem prompts us to reflect upon these questions and more as we take multiple paths through a small amount of nodes. The poem overtly instructs readers to explore the piece in different ways and offers us three navigational tools: a scheduled linear reading in which the poem unfolds before us like a film, a series of linked o’s beneath the Flash canvas, and linked words in each node that form different loops of their own.
“V: Vniverse” is the online supplement and version of a book publication, titled V: WaveSon.nets / Losing L’una. Strickland, a well published poet in the print world has created bridges between print and electronic media (as discussed by Funkhouser and Odin), representing her poetry through familiar and creative interfaces. The navigational interface for “V: Vniverse” is designed to encourage exploration and provide new experiences of her poetry. Read the artists’ statement to see how deep the connections go and how much thought Strickland and Lawson Jaramillo put into creating the Vniverse.
Or if this is all too much, go “look up in perfect silence at the stars” to discover crisp haiku-like tercets and what they combine to say as part of a larger structure such as a son.net or a constellation. You will be rewarded by lines of thought that link science, mathematics, the Web, Simone Weil, prehistoric and modern woman, and so much more.
This exquisite poem is the result of a collaboration between a poet (Strickland) a videographer (Ryan) and a programmer (Lawson Jaramillo) all interconnected in a creative feedback loop as complex as the chreods which inspire the piece. Each way of viewing the work allows you to focus on the video, the linguistic text, or the behavior of the text when it is following the pattern of the chreods in the video. All the ways of reading “Slipping Glimpse” are rewarding, though I preferred to read the scrolling version to get a stronger conceptual sense for the piece and then relax into a more visual experience of the poem.
The wispy lines of poetry floating over the videos hover between readability and illegibility, as they recombine before your eyes, caught in the flows of the chreods. Pay attention to how the movement pattern changes with the water flow from one part to the next. And notice how your own eyes flow from one cluster of silky verse to the next, making choices based on convention but also on the necessary paths of language.
Upon completing my reading of the poetry in the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1 (tagged as ELC1 in this blog), some numbers and reflection on the works within is in order.
The ELC1 contains 60 works of e-literature, 38 of which are classifiable as poetry. Some of these works are certainly on the margins of what one might consider poetry, but I chose to include rather than exclude when in doubt. The authoring software distribution for these works is as follows: