Literary journals are frequently making spaces for non-traditional literary forms in their online publications. Writers and language artists aren't just giving readings anymore— some are producing short films and animations, image-text objects, audio experiments, interactive language games, and more. I should also remind you (as if you need reminding) that we are in the age of Instagram Poetry and memes as literature. The Internet has, indeed, flown open the world of letters, and I have a few thoughts about this.
I think what we're seeing here is poetry carving out a new relevancy in popular culture. I think that through these digital spaces the words on the page are returned to motion. And even though digital poetics as a practice necessitates electricity, impacting the carbon footprint, I think listening to my students give their artist talks reminded me of why I find real-life hope in this medium.
Digital poetry can be urgent and timely, entertaining, constantly changing, and accessible to billions of folks around the globe. We are living in very strange times, where one person's voice can be heard by an unprecedented number of people. If used consciously, digital poems can expand everyday encounters with language and literature, but more than this, they can amplify a message, a feeling, an experience. This is powerful stuff, and with it comes a great responsibility. I think my students are on the right track, thinking seriously about their work moving forward. Beyond the Page: An Evening of Digital Poetry was a success in the sense that all of the writers involved (including myself) challenged themselves to do something different. This sense of play and fluidity was key as we collectively moved outside of our comfort zones.