“Svevedikt” by Ottar Ormstad

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Screen shot from “Svevedikt” by Ottar Ormstad. White background with black letters scattered all over the picture. Letters: “so, o, o, so, ko, ikke, o, so, ko, so” etc.
Open “Svevedikt” by Ottar Ormstad

The title for this Norwegian scheduled visual poem aptly means “poetry floating in the air” and exemplifies why concrete poetry is such a wellspring of inspiration for e-poetry. Ormstad, a poet investigating verbivocovisual poetry since the 1960s, shows his visual and auditory acumen by arranging words and letters in time and space, using the constellation to guide a vocal reading performance of his poems. Gomringer’s notion of the constellation was well suited to the page, where the arrangement of words and letters could seem as random as stars, but offering enough visual cues to encourage readers to find patterns in the page, challenging traditional (left-to-right, top-to-bottom) reading practices. Ormstad uses the the time-based media of the digital computer to create scheduled constellations to shape performances of the poem.


This suite of poems is worth reading even if you don’t know Norwegian, because it is liberating to not worry so much about meaning when experiencing poetic works with such texture. Read these poems out loud as they appear and notice rhythms established through syllabic variation, contrasts in vowel and consonant sounds, word repetition, alternations, transmutations, and a sense of narrative through addition and subtraction of words and letters.

Ormstad extends his poetic tradition with a deft hand.

Featured in ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature