As part of this exploration of digital humanities, I had lots of questions in my last post, mainly about what poetry’s place is on the internet. Following that line of inquiry I google searched digital initiatives in poetry and found this page http://iloveepoetry.com/. It appears that while I was aware that digital poetry existed I guess I wasn’t aware to what extent.
Digital poetry uses digital media to create poetry that rejects traditional poetic form. I guess I shouldn’t really be all that surprised about this because of the way that the avant-garde movement handles poetry.
There is a large part of me that thinks it doesn’t really seem like poetry, and another part of me that is excited for the way that poetry crosses genres. Wikipedia does not have an entry for e-poetry but it does provide this definition for digital poetry:
Digital poetry is a form of electronic literature, displaying a wide range of approaches to poetry, with a prominent and crucial use ofcomputers. Digital poetry can be available in form of CD-ROM, DVD, as installations in art galleries, in certain cases also recorded as digital video or films, as digital holograms and on the World Wide Web or Internet.
A significant portion of current publications of poetry are available either only online or via some combination of online and offline publication. There are many types of ‘digital poetry’ such as hypertext, kinetic poetry, computer generated animation, digital visual poetry, interactive poetry, code poetry, holographic poetry (holopoetry), experimental video poetry, and poetries that take advantage of theprogrammable nature of the computer to create works that are interactive, or use generative or combinatorial approach to create text (or one of its states), or involve sound poetry, or take advantage of things like listservs, blogs, and other forms of network communication to create communities of collaborative writing and publication (as in poetical wikis).
Digital computers allow the creation of art that spans different media: text, images, sounds, and interactivity via programming. Contemporary poetries have, therefore, taken advantage of this toward the creation of works that synthesize both arts and media. Whether a work is poetry or visual art or music or programming is sometimes not clear, but we expect an intense engagement with language in poetical works.
This to me is an indicator of the nature of poetics. Contemporary poetry is by its nature cross genre. There is a requirement that contemporary poetry engages with other genres in order to exist. Another interesting example of this is The Last Vispo Anthology; an anthology of poetry that walks the line between visual art and poetry.
Maybe poetry then is about the engagement of language with the senses and how we feel out the world through sound and text. I know that when I explain what poetry is to people I stress that poetry has no rules, only conventions — so what are the definitive conventions of digital poetry? That it can be anything so long as it engages with our sense of language?
Again, I think I am left with more questions than I have answers for.