Digital poetry has emerged from the world of literature within the last 20 to 30 years as the prominence of technology grew. Some consider digital poetry an art form as well as literature and it can manifest itself in many different forms, making digital poetry so diverse and limitless. With digital poetry, the presentation is just as important as the words, sometimes even more so. But what even is digital poetry? Here are a couple types of digital poetry to familiarize yourself with the work.
Digital poetry is not simply text and paragraphs digitalised onto screens to read, but rather the digital aspect of the poetry is what makes it what it is. Without the digital aspect the poem would not exist in the correct state. Its digital form possesses the poetic qualities that make any digital poem meaningful. Digital poems can span across various media such as text, images, sounds and interactivity via programming.
One type of digital poem is hypertext poetry. This form is made up of links and nodes that the reader can follow in any order they desire to create a unique poem and experience for themselves. These links provide readers with an unstructured progression through a poem that would simply be unachievable through purely textual methods. The hyperlinks can lead the viewer to a multitude of pages such as images, videos, other poems or pages that help explain what the writer is conveying.
Kinetic poetry takes advantage of animations and motion and the ability to display changing information over time. This can help add extra layers of meaning to certain words and phrases making them more significant than when simply written. As Marie-Laurie Ryan states in ‘Cyberspace Textuality’; “They become actors and dancers on the stage of the computer screen”. They project a meaning that can be used to interpret the words definition in certain context, in addition to also being used to define the pace and flow of a poem.
Interactive poetry calls upon the reader of the poem to contribute to the content/performance of the work, allowing them a whole new experience when interacting with the poem. For example, some poems require the readers to add lines of text unto the poem to create a customised and collaborate interactive poem. It’s almost like those fridge magnet poems that you used to play around with where you could create own poems through mixing and matching certain words, letters and phrases.
Digital poetry can engage readers and allow writers to expand their work through images, animations, hyperlinks, colours, sounds etc. It is a form of poetry that perhaps isn’t as commonplace in the world of literature as there is debates on the authenticity and validity of this art form.