Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Digital poetry -- Stephanie Strickland et al

Stephanie Strickland writes with mastery of numbers, as we see in her poem below.  But numbers are only the beginning of her work.  A director of the Electronic Poetry Association and author of "Born Digital," Strickland is one of the leaders in the development of new types of poems that are constructed using animation and rearrangements and other visual and aural communications made possible by computers and the internet.

     4    Real Numbers   
                   (  (  (  (    )  )  )         

     The need to write down numbers; not some, but All,

     and I can do it--and I do, euphoric, disquiet--All is smaller
     than few by far by Far, a series summed, a limit
     passed-to and subsumed, itself now item;

     a method: for Truth, which means here

     depth, the Peirce-ing range, the finer mesh, the even deeper
     reach through layer into layer holding
     up: still true, still truer.  Not logical, not only;

     the truth of a ravening chld who must find

     divinity Exact--exactly to find it:  Pythagoras stopped
     and offered sacrifice to God when he discovered
     that the circle was

     a locus of means.  Far-seer.  Canny conceiver. With a snake

     in his pocket, but ravenous, retreating from few
     to All, to four corners of the wind, of the world
     turning gold, gold as corn and pumpkin.  Gold as control.

"Real Numbers" is part 5 of a six-part poem, "Numbers Nesting in Numbers-Nesting-In Numbers," found in Strickland's collection True North (University of Notre Dame Press, 1997).

Wikipedia's entries on digital poetry and electronic literature offer definitions and links.  Because digital poetry nearly always has a strong visual element, it is a medium that offers opportunities for integration with mathematics--in which the visual aspect of the language is highly important.
Here are several digital poetry links I've enjoyed :
     The Electronic Poetry Center at the University of Buffalo
      "Morningside Vector Space" -- a digital poem by mathematician-poet Millie Niss (1973-2009)
     VISPO, a website maintained by Jim Andrews
     UbuWeb (founded in 1996 by poet Kenneth Goldsmith) is a large web-based source of avant-garde material available on the internet; it offers visual, concrete and sound poetry.
     The Jabberwocky Engine by Neil Hennessey
     The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot by Stephanie Strickland in Zone : Zero (Ahsahta Press, 2008)
     An article comparing POETRY with programming CODE by Stephanie Strickland and Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo.

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