E-Poetry, according to the official website created by Leonardo Flores, is defined as “…poetry that arises from an engagement with the possibilities offered by digital media.” It is also known as “electronic poetry” or “digital poetry.” Essentially, it is a poetic genre of electronic literature created by the mediums of online data, algorithms, coding, frequencies, photos and other electronic platforms that can produce words, movement, and art for the public. E-poets think through the process of the digital medium, and Alexander Flores created the e-poetry website as a hub for e-poets to come together, post their work, and to view and give feedback on works done by others. E-poetry’s history parallels with that of the digital computer. As technology updates and innovates itself with new additions of hardware, software, and programming, e-poetry adapts itself to these technological advances as well.
Flores divided the E-Poetry literary platform into multiple genres, based on their internal technological origin. The genres go as followed:
This genre is produced by programming algorithms and drawing from corpora to create poetic lines. It is the oldest e-poetic genre and remains relevant today through e-literary genres, such as bots on social media. For example, the computer analyzes a situation and places media for the viewer to better artistically understand a current global situation. Satirical newspapers such as The Onion would define as generative poetry because they are artistic articles projected on a technological platform for the public.
This genre is meant to be presented for a dual-audience: humans and computers. It incorporates both notions of classic poetry and computer code. For example, a computer may assemble words and generate them into lines of poetry, and a person may verbally read them aloud to an audience. As long as the poem was written with coding practices, it is considered code poetry. Stanford University holds an annual Code Poetry Slam for its computer science majors. Here is an example from the 2013 slam in which Leslie Wu coded her computer to recite Psalm 23 from the Bible.
Visual Digital Poetry
The genre emphasizes the power of a visual element of media writing a poem for its viewer to read and understand. It is controlled by the relationship between the movement, the action and the sound of the visual on the screen. This relationship determines the structure of the poem. For example, “Puddle” by Neil Hennessey uses the movement of words on an image to reflect the formation of a puddle.
This poetic genre utilizes the computer’s ability to display animation and changing information over time. For example, the music video entitled “Word Crimes” by Weird Al Yankovic and Jarret Heather uses kinetic typography and evocative visual images to reinform their audience of the importance of proper grammar in the digital age.
This genre incorporates audio, video, images, text, and other modes of communication to formulate poetic language. For example, the novel Tierra de Extracción, written by Domenico Chiappa, is entirely extracted from the manipulation and interaction between various forms of media.
This genre incorporates the viewer’s understanding and input calculated through their process of reading and exploring an E-Poem. As a person reads and engages in an interactive poem, they click to find different pages and read various elements to fully grasp the narrative behind the poem. The e-poem “Gabriella Infinita” written by Jaime Alejandro Rodríguez is a story that has no table of contents for the reader to follow, but rather “a rich array of ‘Lexia, images, and audio files’” (Flores).
This genre of e-poetry incorporates words, visuals, sound, and media to create a poem or story for the reader to follow by clicking each element. It is a form of interactive poetry, but rather incorporates sound and automatic words caused by clicking to create a story for the viewer to see. Wherever the viewer clicks and explores does not matter in hypertext poetry, whereas in interactive poetry, the order of interaction is influential to how the viewer analyzes the text.
Essentially, E-Poetry is created for the sake of the viewer. Technological advance over time has shaped the way we read, analyze, and write forms of literature today. Exploring the website is the best way to understand the subject. Take a look!