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Poetic Machines: an investigation into the impact of the characteristics of the digital apparatus on poetic expression
This thesis aims to investigate digital methods of signification in order to examine the impact of the apparatus on poetic expression. This is done through a critical analysis of the translation process from analogue to digital, in the sense that even as we read a page we are in fact translating sight into sound. The resulting effects of this change in form are explored in order to understand their impact on meaning-making in the digital realm. Through this interrogation the comprehension and definition of ePoetry (electronic poetry or digital poetry) is extended, by exposing the unique affordances and specificities of digital expression. Digital poetry theorists such as Loss Pequeño Glazier posit that the emerging field of electronic literature is composed of interweaving strands from the areas of computer science, sociology, and literary studies. This is reflected in the interdisciplinary nature of this thesis, which necessitates an engagement with the broad areas of translation, literature, and digital media studies. Currently the pervasiveness of digital technology and access to the Internet means that the creation and consumption of online content such as ePoetry is becoming seamless and apparently effortless. Whilst recent studies have explored electronic literature as a field, there is a noticeable deficit of research that specifically focuses on ePoetry, a deficit that this thesis seeks to rectify. Within this work cybernetic and technosocial theories of communication are drawn on which provide as much emphasis on the apparatus, as is afforded to the author and reader. Traditional poetry criticism is problematised with reference to its suitability for application to online works in order to develop a comprehensive ePoetry rhetoric that explores not only what is being said, but also crucially how it is being said. Theories of translation are also used as a context in which to analyse the transposition of poetry from analogue to digital. This framework then forms the basis for a study that explores the move from print to pixel by analysing qualitative ePoet interviews as well as their corresponding ePoems.
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