PhoneMe: A mobile phone-native genre of poetry for the social media age

Critical Writing
Record Status: 
Abstract (in English): 

This presentation regards to development of a place-based, geotagged, online mapping of an innovative, mobile phone-native, spoken word genre of poetry. The website hosts poems that are left as messages by calling 1-604-PHONEME (746-6363) and leaving your name, location of the call or topical location of the poem, title of the poem, and then recording a poem of up to four minutes in length. The poem is pinned on an interactive map that features a google street view image of the location, the MP3 audio file, and in some cases the text of the poem. Longer poems can serialized. The intent of this project is to give voice to community-based writing about real places and spaces within the community. As such, it began with a year of workshops conducted in the downtown east side of Vancouver, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in North America, in order that poets in the community to speak back to media representations of their neighbourhood. We have moved on to working with schools, providing workshops for hundreds of students in British Columbia, Canada. These workshops provide instruction in creative uses of mobile phones and techniques for performance of spoken word poetry, as well as touching on broader issues related to tagging and identity. The intent of this project is to offer a form of social media for the sharing of poetry and networking among poets, and as well, to provide a means for others to get a poet’s-eye-view on locations around the world. The site can be navigated by location, by contributing poet, or by a reverse-chronological tour through posted poems (or phonemes). We are currently working on automating this initiative with innovative tagging and search functions, as well as user-curated content management. This presentation will include the opportunity for participants to follow some of our writing workshop templates, create a phoneme (a Phone Poem), and have it pinned by location on our interactive map. The presentation will review some of the technical challenges and opportunities that the project has encountered over the two years since it began. 

As such, this presentation focuses on two of the thematic threads of the ELO 2018 conference, namely “Mobile technologies’ effect on writing and reading habits” and “Spoken screens: the gap between performance and presence” by providing a sense of how spoken word can function online to provide a sense of presence through performance that is captured in situ, giving an ambient sense of location of the performance of a phone-native genre of creative writing / performance poetry. The presenters are members of the Digital Literacy Centre of the University of British Columbia where this project is currently situated.

Works referenced:

Title Author Yearsort descending
The permanent URL of this page: 
Record posted by: 
Jana Jankovska