Poems That Go

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What makes a poem a poem? If a text is sung, does it become a song? When motion graphics are involved, does that make it animation? If the images are photographic, is it cinema?
In the age of "Post-media aesthetics," as Lev Manovitch has pointed out, the blurring of traditional media genres makes it difficult, if not impossible, to rigidly define media territories. Instead of struggling to draw these separations, we freely let the arts mingle in a space we still dare to draw a circle around and label "poetry."

Although we use the term "new media poetry" as a genre of "electronic literature" to describe the work included in Poems that Go, "literature" itself proves to be a pesky term. Indeed, we have been accused of devaluing the word at the expense of the image. Our goal here is not to elevate one art above the rest, but to seek an inclusive understanding of literature, one that goes beyond written text-based works, to include visual, aural and media literacy.

In this spirit, Poems that Go explores the intersections between motion, sound, image, text, and code. The work we feature explores how language is shaped in new media spaces, how interactivity can change the meaning of a sign, how an image can conflict with a sound, and how code exerts machine-order on a text.

We'd like to think of this space on the Web as a creative field for this generation's artists and writers to probe the medium's potential and integrate these art forms to challenge the definition of poetry. One which challenges you, the new viewers, readers, writers and artists, to discover extraordinary ways to make sense of language, art, and narrative in a way that is both critical and entertaining.

Megan Sapnar and Ingrid Ankerson

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Eric Dean Rasmussen