Digital Poetry and Meta-Discourse: A Network of Self-References?

Critical Writing
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This paper spins from an analysis of several works of critical writing in the field of digital poetry, which have been documented at the ELMCIP Knowledge Base (
The first stage of the research process has been trying to understand which tags have higher frequency, as one observes how the field has evolved in terms of theoretical analysis (content type: critical writing) and its correspondent classification in ELMCIP. Secondly, the database has been filtered in terms of critical writing tagged with the taxonomy “digital poetry” (higher frequency, 109 records). From here onwards, a period for analysis, 1995-2015, was selected, as it signals the twenty-year span of Web-based digital poems. Hence, the publication types selected were monographs and PhD dissertations tagged with “digital poetry” or having “poetry” in their title. This process created a smaller corpus for data analysis, mining and visualization. The selected works of critical writing include, amongst others, Hartman (1996), Barbosa (1996), Glazier (2002), Stefans (2003), Engberg (2007), Funkhouser (2007, 2012), Johnston (2011), Rosario (2011), Naji (2012), Dupej (2012), Emerson (2014) and Carpenter (2014).
The two questions I posed then were: 1) Is there a prevalence of self-referenced creative works in critical writing? 2) Is there a set of digital poems being more referenced than other?
By exporting the tables of cross-references from the ELMCIP KB into visualization software, I try to better understand and debate, by means of macro analytical visualizations and network analysis, these questions, following Franco Moretti’s notion of “distant reading” (2005) and application methodology in the field of electronic literature such as those developed by Jill Walker Rettberg (2012, 2013) and Scott Rettberg (2013).

(Source: ELD 2015)

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Alvaro Seica