a prepost, not a riposte -- #1

to e-poetry

one thing that marks an important transition for me is when I was asked to make an "elevator speech" by a recruiter -- since sales professionals had and expected them (while actual hiring companies did not) -- my elevator speech in New York was always an Armani suit, armful of libary books, and pleasant convo -- I still often rely on my Mom's for me, "she can read, write, and do math" -- but while I don't drink beer and rarely get to socialize, I lead with poetry. Doth e-poets protest too much?

I am lazy, so I will use Stephanie's hard work, too:

1. Nice, but there are eBooks designed as eBooks (in whatever ebookmaker) and there are print books put online as ebooks, and then there is a world of public domain books slowly being brought online in formats of various usefulness. I would like to include items which have been designed to "print out" and to be importantly well-suited to whatever environment they are in, even if using fairly rudimentary technology, in electronic literature.

Electronic literature was designed-written to be in whatever -- and however many -- environments it can be in. It is not literature "accidentally" online, or "incidentally" in print, or vice versa.

Electronic Literature and "Born Digital" and "a computer required at evey stage of life" are thus three very different things.

And I want to stop the madness of confusing electronic, digital, computer, and internet! Televisions are electronic. So are radios. My microwave is electronic, and not just because it has a chip. Items *in* my microwave have structures that are differently affected by the current (in this case, microwaves) passing through them. "Electronic Poetry" then would be poetry that is designed-written to be in an electronic environment. It could be a poem on a Peep thrust into my microwave that changes as it puffs up. OK, that's too good -- I'm going to have to do that. And it could be on many identical Peeps and to read it, you would hve to put it in your microwave. Or, get the same sort of Peep and write the same thing on it, and etc. This would be a subgenre of Electronic Poetry > Microwave Poetry > Marshmallow Poetry > Peeps. I don't think Peeps are kosher, for example, so Kabbalah Marshmallow exploding poems would have to be on kosher marshmallows.

2. There are millions of people who not only do not have computers, but also who do not use computers for work. We see many of these people every day, and are related to others. This is not a computer-mediated society. There is one, but we participate in it largely separately from participating in our normative cultures.

There are items which are born digital -- like this blog post -- which are not electronic in an important way.

Computers can be used to send messages to printers.

Limiting electronic poetry to poetry which can be loaded into a browser is a pretty severe limit. I would call that "browser-enabled electronic poetry."

The idea of doing rather than saying is interesting, and part of the larger gift of electronic poetry to poetry teachers everywhere, because it is an essential distinction for all poetry. The idea of "generative" for example, demonstrates a lot more to students quickly than a lot of blathering on about play, reader response, and layering.

So, a lot of poetry does things, or is interactive. Now, does all electronic poetry do things, or require interactivity? I think it is an important item on the prix fixe menu.

3. Dunno. See 2. I think scattered attention is what most hands on parents have, and have always had. Commerce is increasingly savvy at interrupting us, and definitions are like little ad campaigns? There is something about the way hat poetry -- or anything --must be marketed now. Azaleas! The flowering evergreen perennial for dry, shady, acid soil!

4. Some poems teach us how (and/or why) to read poetry, how to read in general, or how to read them. Some don't. So, I would say Strickland's specification about requiring new reading skills is either resptrictive, or belongs on the menu.

5. OK, 4. was not also about reading, but also about aethetics as a part of the experience of a poem. This isn't really dfferent in visual or sound poetry, or performance. 5. talks more about aethetics as historical. I would say that 4. is also mostly archeological: electronics control current, in the same way that cyber means control, in the same way that much of electronic poetry is, then, shaped by its (historical) environment. I would broaden this to *all poetry* being shaped in this way. Now, the heart of the matter: electronic poetry's aesthetics are not necessarily shaped by programming, say, or glowing lights. Is this "extra cheese, $1.00" on the menu? Or "splitting cost, $2.50"?

6. I agree with the statement, although I have used the words "designed" or "developed" more, because I think of electronics and poetry as less physical than, say, houses; perhaps more like curtains.

7. Add to the menu of items.

8. Not a whole lot of electronic poetry is importantly 3D, and I think there are probably some more ways electronic poetry is 3D I could cook up. Pun intended.


10. See some of my printed paper scultures; there are some others I saw most recently in Otoliths; there are a lot more of these in the visual arts community that the average literary writer or electronic literasture writer might be less familiar with. In this case, not all of the information is stored on the paper in the same way, and every reproduction is also (at least partially, or a step in) reading, and each is (sometimes *not* importantly) a bit different. Further, archivists and specialists in literary storage -- librarians, such as Stephanie Strickland! -- know that print sotrage is a perilous thing, full of vagrant half latters and poor quality xeroxing and crumbling pages... in other words the storage surface may be the reading surface, but this doesn't (necessarily) yield identical readings or even reading (or doing) experiences.

Still, this strikes me as a very fascinating distinction that bears more careful thinking.

11. Electronic literature requires new and different space - time than print literature.

Well, it requres electronic space time. This s why the passage of current vs. the recall from storage is a bit fascinating. Espcially as traditional media delivery is changing. It says some terrible things about energy consumption and how costs are considered, too.

This is like my unfinished controller / seedbed poem, which isn't finished.


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