Digital and Physical

When I came into class this semester poetry was, to me, nothing more than verses often metered.  The class has without a doubt changed my outlook on poetry; I now see that in our era of digital media poetry has evolved and adapted to digital culture, breaking my mental conception of poetry.  One of my first discoveries was heavily influenced by Osman’s The Network.  The form of Osman’s poems were a bit odd to me, but nothing that did not fit my conception of poetry.  However the more I read the more apparent it became that the poetry was mimicking a database.  The idea that poetry had advanced to the point where it was acting like a digital object rather than just using the digital medium as a means to an end shook my world.  Another discovery I made came between the tension between Key Elements of Digital Media and Born Digital.  The two listed requirements for media to be digital, yet did not perfectly agree.  The biggest disagreement was that Born Digital requires a digital poem to be coded in “creation, preservation, and display” while Key Elements of Digital Media never explicitly states that.  It was not until we looked at Between Page and Screen that I realized that the disconnect was a perfect way to describe poetry in our digital age.  The book exists without a digital aspect, but its true nature is inaccessible without webcam and QR reading code. Likewise, the reverse is true – the digital cannot be accessed without the book.  The struggle where digital cannot exist without the written is the future I foresee for digital poetry.  Although we have seen some digital poetry that is completely digital, completely digital poetry starts entering the realm of other media, such as film, animation, or games.  The best, truly digital, poetry we have looked at are the poems, like  The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed and Between Screen and Page, that deal with both a digital and a print aspect.  I expect that in addition to continuation with this tension that we will begin to see a larger level of interaction between content and audience.

One comment

  1. Gary Guyton

    poetry has become a digital object that we can manipulate and create content that has different meanings. I agree that there is a disconnect between born digital and key elements of digital media. I never really like the idea of coded poetry

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