Four Guillemets

Description (in English): 

This event investigates how one reads a literary text in the digital environment. The presentation is presented in several parts, as follows. The poem is meant to extend the idea of poetic structure from a static/print environment to the structures of digital language. It means to move it forward, not dizzied by technical effects, but along a trajectory that thoughtfully moves structures into New Media environments.

1. A general introduction. Each part of the four-part digital poem, “Four Guillemets”, is composed in sections that vary in their content on a periodic basis, indeed during the actual reading of the text. The introduction asks participants to listen to the text and to fill out response pages. Ideas about what the text means, what lines are memorable, what the “larger” meanings of the text might be.

2. Four Guillemets ( is performed. (The performance consists of expressive language, pacing, rhythm and the adaptability of the reader to the shifts in the text.) This reading brings literary language, executed through literary structures, into the digital realm.

2a. If the Digital Poetry & Dance option is desired. A performance with of digital poetry and dance will be presented. (This would require more of a stage-like setting, thus it is presented as an option to HASTAC. There are several possible digital poetry works performed for dance that can be presented. One of these will be presented. These move the concept of electronic language into interpretative modes on contemporary/modern dance, re-imagining the body presented against digital modes.

3. A brief talk will then be given couching the performative text in traditions of literary writing. This talk presents static poetic text that is dynamic in its poetic functioning. Works looked at include Robert Frost, H.D., Robert Duncan, and Robert Creeley, writers mostly identified with the avant-garde, and discusses how poetic strings as poetic variants can be seen as pioneering works for poems that use strings in code.

(Source: Author's abstract for HASTAC 2013)

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Scott Rettberg