This suite of 5 e-poems were written in the early days of the World Wide Web, when HTML and the tools it offered for animation, interactivity, and generative works were very rudimentary. Inspired by the Surrealist Exquisite Corpse technique Zervos rose to the challenge by using the humble animated GIF to produce surprisingly complex combinatorial work. This image format allows the creation of a sequence of images, presented at a predefined rate in an infinite loop. In these poems, Zervos uses some GIFs at different speeds and some at the same speed but aggregating a different number of images to create different combinations of elements.
For example, in “Exquisite Corpse Poem” Zervos creates a one-line poem with animated GIFs placed side by side, aptly named for the grammatical function they fulfill: athe.gif + adj1.gif + noun1.gif + verb.gif + athe.gif + adj2.gif + noun2.gif. In other words, a/the modified noun verbed a/the modified noun. And voila, we have a perfectly grammatical, one line poem generator that can produce… you do the math!
He applies this method successfully to other highly formulaic forms, such as the haiku, fairy tales, and a poem structured around on binary opposites. Each of these witty poems leads us to experience some of the patterns around which literary experiences are built.
Note: “Exquisite Corpse Poem” contains a .talk file which was read by a currently unavailable text-to-speech plugin. The source code for the text to be read by that file is the following: “[[cmnt talkervoice=princess]]exquisite corpse poem, by kom-ni-noss„ hit the stop button to make an exquisite corpse poem, then hit re-load and stop to make a new poem.[[cmnt talkervoice=hysterical]]have lots of fun fun fun!!”