In the simplest terms Digital Poems are born from the combination of technology and poetry, with writers using all multi-media elements as critical texts. Sounds, images, movement, video, interface/interactivity and words are combined to create new poetic forms and experiences. And when a piece like “game, game…” attracts millions of readers while a “successful” print poem might attract a hundred, I think the digital truly is the future of poetry. …..
Heliozoa.com is designed as a stable of sorts, for the these poetic digital horses to sleep. Readers can play within the possibilities of the electronic poem, to inspire and frighten, to allure and repel. An introduction to what poetry has become, and the imaginary lands I build to keep them in hay and away from the rain. So click and sway and read and post-ponder these works, spread them to others and send me a lovely note here……contact.
A brief story might help:
Shortly before one of my first digital poetry readings at the U of Maryland, I was asked to describe how I generated ideas for my digital poems. Initially, I stormed into a discussion about not being satisfied with the limitations of print, and the need to find a format that satiated a curious and scattered mind. And while those points are entirely valid and contribute to my creative process/direction, they didn’t really answer the question of where the kernel, the initial spark for each digital poem lives.I stumbled through half-jokes and comments about the food and weather, until someone across from me said they loved my interfaces. At the time I hadn’t really, formally, considered the idea of an interface, the notion that digital poems have an engine, an architecture that structurally, thematically, cultural surrounds the poem, holds the poem, shelters and nurtures and indeed conceives (procreation digitally) the poem.
Later after the reading/talk, the topic of “where are my digital poems born” came up again. And with the aid of a few drinks and the pressures of “big crowd talk” past, I raised my voice and commanded (rather dramatically) “look around at the bar”. With my half-drunk audience now confused, I continued. “Everything around us has an organization, a geography, a pattern, an interface”, I uttered. I pointed out how poems could be formed from the way drinking glasses stack on the bar top, or how the pool tables and their colored and sequential billiard balls are an interactive and generative poem. Soon we began playing games, creating new digital poems from what we saw (and heard) around us at the bar. There were sound poems created from the mixing of conversations and music, game poems from the pinball machine, self-destroying poems from the way alcohol slid us deeper into one-dimensional thought. For that evening at least, the world, like a movie’s representation of the idiot savant mathematician, was filled with numbers and equations floating above everything on the screen. And instead of digits, interactive texts were the filter and footnotes to our sensory experiences.
It is overly simplistic to state that my digital poems come entirely from building/discovering interfaces. Any artist’s creative practice is a merging/melding mix of fluid events and inspirations. But with all my digital poems there is one commonality, the emphasis on interface. Rarely do I even reuse interfaces, and when I do it is only as one section of a larger work. This continual drive to create new ways to rethink the structure, organization and interactive functionality of my digital poems comes from a variety of internal influences. Most importantly is how these interfaces are not just vessels for content, they are poems in themselves. In the same way digital poetry might be best defined by the experience, rather than a description. Or similar to a digital poet and their works being described by the events and stories surrounding the creation and building process, an interface is the life, the body, and a poetic construction in itself.