The Quick Brown Fox (a Panagram)

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For this piece, Bigelow uses the most famous pangram in the English language, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” to structure a poetic narrative hypertext. Each letter contains a piece of a story about a relationship about to change, expressed by means of a poetic line that moves in meaningful ways over a brief looped video background. Not wishing to reveal more about the story, I will just say that Bigelow deftly maps the story onto the pangram several ways: chromatically, graphemically, allegorically, and cinematically. In the credits, he describes his role as “spun by Alan Bigelow,” an interesting choice of words in the context of his creative approach. Having read his delightful series of “Ten…” short list-essays on digital literature (positioned after the images in his site), and having read the credits to his works, I know that he uses royalty-free sounds, images, video, and occasionally language —modified as he sees fit— in the creation of his works. The English language and its alphabet are also “found” or ready made visual, aural, and semantic objects (thankfully FOSS) which can be combined in a variety of meaningful ways. In the textile world, to “spin” is to interconnect fibers into yarn— a frame of reference used by poets such as Yeats to refer to their craft (note the use of “stitching and unstitching” in “Adam’s Curse”). Thus Bigelow’s site is aptly titled “Webyarns.” So whatever else this might be, whatever else anyone might call it, it is poetry.

(Source: Leonardo Flores)

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Scott Rettberg