Listen to my words of wisdom … mashups welcome

“Why ‘But is it e-lit?’ is a ridiculous question: the case for online journals as organic, evolving works of digital literature”, a paper presented at the Electronic Literature Organization conference, Morgantown, WV, 23 June 2012.

During the recent K&D Stylings North American Tour, I took a detour to attend the Electronic Literature Organization conference: Electrifying Literature / Affordances and Constraints, which was held at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

A close up of the actual audience for my ELO presentation.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a detour as the second leg of my itinerary but WGAF. Anyways, I also presented a paper at the conference, and that’s what this post is really about.

As you can see from the image above, my audience was vast. Again, I tell a squeaky little lie. This is what the auditorium looked like ten minutes before my panel started. Which was still at the godless hour of 8.30am on Saturday 23 June 2012.

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The cover image for Cordite Poetry Review 36: Electronica (2011), by Maxine Clarke

Cordite 36: Electronica

I’m a bit behind the eight-ball here, but all the same it’s a real thrill to announce that Cordite 36: Electronica is now online!

The issue contains more poetry and poetics than you can poke a stick at. Here’s a run-down:


Gemma Mahadeo, Paul Giles, w.m.lewis, michael farrell, Kevin Gillam, Danijela Kambaskovic-Sawers, Christopher Brew, Mark O’Flynn, Anne Gorrick, Misbah Khokhar, Angela Gardner, Greg McLaren, Mark Young, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Derek Motion, Jessica Wilkinson, Stuart Cooke, Helen Symonds, Joyce Parkes, Sam Langer, Rory Dufficy, Derek Rawson, Gregory Horne, Jenny Powell, Chris Oakey, Louise Molloy, Jessica Bell, Phillip A. Ellis, Eddie Paterson, Joanne Merriam, Christina Armstrong, Susan Adams, Sean M. Whelan and Isnod, komninos, Philip Norton, Pascalle Burton, Emilie Collyer, Mark William Jackson, Ian Gibbins, Jason Nelson, Konrad McCarthy, Joshua Mei-Ling Dubrau, Benjamin Laird, Maxine Clarke, Gareth Jenkins, Crixus, Jamison C. Lee, Sara Moss, Adam Fieled, Bev Braune, Sally Evans, Tim Wright, Alice Melike Ülgezer, David McCooey and Joseph Baron-Pravda.

From Jill Jones’ editorial:

Music can be read, obviously. It has its own visual patterns in composed forms, and in the 20th century musical notation has extended from common staff notation or tablatures, to other forms of graphic notation. The poem on the page also has its patterns, greatly enhanced by the digitisation of typographical design in the late 20th century. Sure, the Dada crowd were having fun with type a way back, not to forget our old friend, Mallarme. But the digital moves it onto other levels, layers and means of access.

I’m also happy to say I’ve got a couple or three pieces in the issue, the first of which is Tiny Steps: the Electr(on)ification of Cordite, a reflection on what it means to be ‘electronic’ or not when it comes to online poetry journals.

In addition, and as a reflection of my time spent this year working as part of the ELMCIP project, I’ve published an interview with Maria Engberg and an interview with Talan Memmott. Maria and Talan are my colleagues at BTH in Karlskrona, and it was great of them to spare some time to chat about all things e-lit.

Coming soon to K-Town!

Things have taken a turn for the untold here in Karlskrona, with today’s unveiling by Talan ‘Mad Skillz’ Memmott of a poster advertising the upcoming Cabaret Voltage event.

Scheduled to rock the Scandinavian e-lit scene in a manner not witnessed since the last Icelandic ash cloud, Cabaret Voltage will be the final event in a three-day extravaganza of electronic literature (otherwise known as the ELMCIP workshop on electronic literature pedagogy, hosted by our research group at BTH) and will feature performances, readings, shouties and even an on-stage game of chess.

While details of the exact names of the chess players remain under a media embargo, you’re free to feast your eyes on the above piece of post-Soviet goodness, which we plan to paste up all over town. And if you’re planning on coming along on the evening of Thursday June 16, you’d better get cracking, as I’m told all SJ train services on that day are almost fully-booked.

Okay, I’m only kidding about the train bit. And the ash cloud.

But the poster is real.

Call for Works for ELMCIP Anthology

Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP), a collaborative research project funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) JRP for Creativity and Innovation, seeks submissions of electronic literature from European writers and practitioners for its upcoming anthology. The editors of the anthology – namely Maria Engberg, Talan Memmott and myself – are looking for innovative literary works by European authors that take advantage of digital media and computation.

Submissions will be accepted from April 12 to September 30, 2011.

ELMCIP involves seven European academic research partners and one non-academic partner investigating how transnational and transcultural creative communities of practitioners form within global and distributed communication environments. Focusing on the electronic-literature community in Europe as a model of networked creativity and innovation in practice, ELMCIP intends both to study the formation and interactions of that community and to further electronic literature research and practice in Europe.

The anthology will provide a sample of Europe’s diverse electronic-literature practices. It will include around thirty works along with teaching materials from educators interested in electronic-literary practices. The anthology will be published online and on a cross-platform DVD.

All content will be offered under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- NoDerivs 3.0 License allowing the disc to be installed, duplicated, and shared by individuals, libraries, and educational institutions. The intent is to provide educators, students and the general public with a free curricular resource containing a variety of examples of electronic literary works.

Full details, including information on how to submit works to the anthology, can be found on the ELMCIP website.

Jonathan Swift on medieval electronica and the academic world

The first professor I saw, was in a very large room, with forty pupils about him. After salutation, observing me to look earnestly upon a frame, which took up the greatest part of both the length and breadth of the room, he said, “Perhaps I might wonder to see him employed in a project for improving speculative knowledge, by practical and mechanical operations. But the world would soon be sensible of its usefulness; and he flattered himself, that a more noble, exalted thought never sprang in any other man’s head. Every one knew how laborious the usual method is of attaining to arts and sciences; whereas, by his contrivance, the most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labour, might write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, laws, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study.” He then led me to the frame, about the sides, whereof all his pupils stood in ranks. It was twenty feet square, placed in the middle of the room. The superfices was composed of several bits of wood, about the bigness of a die, but some larger than others. They were all linked together by slender wires. These bits of wood were covered, on every square, with paper pasted on them; and on these papers were written all the words of their language, in their several moods, tenses, and declensions; but without any order. The professor then desired me “to observe; for he was going to set his engine at work.” The pupils, at his command, took each of them hold of an iron handle, whereof there were forty fixed round the edges of the frame; and giving them a sudden turn, the whole disposition of the words was entirely changed. He then commanded six-and-thirty of the lads, to read the several lines softly, as they appeared upon the frame; and where they found three or four words together that might make part of a sentence, they dictated to the four remaining boys, who were scribes. This work was repeated three or four times, and at every turn, the engine was so contrived, that the words shifted into new places, as the square bits of wood moved upside down.

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (1726-27)