Although I have been writing and publishing poetry for several years, I am only just beginning to dabble in developing and executing poetic forms with the help of digital technology. Many of the formal and thematic properties of digital poetry are echoed in poetic practices that long predate the invention of World Wide Web, such as in the anagrams and proteus poems of the 3rd century A.D., the French Symbolist poetry of the late nineteenth century, and the constraint-based works of the “Oulipo” group of writers and mathematicians that emerged in the late 1950s. I bring to this session a few poetic forms that I’ve been fashioning according to my own set of parameters. I hope to address some practical questions regarding how these forms can be engaged with and modified by myself and others. Some of these include:
Are there programs or applications that surpass the ability of online scrabble search dictionaries not only in the sense of generating lists of words that can be made from restricted selections of letters, but also in terms of categorizing these words according to other constraints? What kinds of technology are available that transform spoken words and their modulations into text? What sorts of digital media might exist, beyond social networking sites, that act as collaborative hypertextual sketch books or creative spaces? How might one begin to construct digital technology that facilitates these possibilities?
I am also interested in grappling with some theoretical questions pertaining to authorial intention, materiality, and politics, such as,
How might digital poetry challenge or complicate the perceived boundaries among programmer/writer/reader? And, how might a genre that is auto-reflexive problematically conceal its own representational and ideological approaches?