33.3 QR code poem by Genco Gulan

Digital poetry is a form of electronic literature, displaying a wide range of approaches to poetry, with a prominent and crucial use of computers. Digital poetry can be available in form of CD-ROM, DVD, as installations in art galleries, in certain cases also recorded as digital video or films, as digital holograms, on the World Wide Web or Internet, and as mobile phone apps.

According to Saum-Pascual (2019), digital poetry is the artistic heir to the avant-garde movements of the second half of the 20th century, including Lettrism, concrete poetry, and conceptual poetry.[1]

A significant portion of current publications of poetry are available either only online or via some combination of online and offline publication. There are many types of 'digital poetry' such as hypertext, kinetic poetry, computer generated animation, digital visual poetry, interactive poetry, code poetry, experimental video poetry, and poetries that take advantage of the programmable nature of the computer to create works that are interactive, or use a generative or combinatorial approach to create text (or one of its states), or involve sound poetry, or take advantage of things like listservs, blogs, and other forms of network communication to create communities of collaborative writing and publication (as in poetical wikis).

Digital platforms allow the creation of art that spans different media: text, images, sounds, and interactivity via programming. Contemporary poetries have, therefore, taken advantage of this toward the creation of works that synthesize both arts and media. Whether a work is poetry visual art music or programming is sometimes not clear, but we expect an intense engagement with language in poetical works.[2]


Early digital poems include Christopher Strachey's love letter generator (1952), the stochastic texts which were indirectly produced by the German mathematician Theo Lutz in 1959 by programming a Z22 of Konrad Zuse;[3] Nanni Balestrini's "Tape Mark I" in Italian, published in 1961;[4] and Brion Gysin's English permutation poems from around 1959, done automatically with the collaboration of Ian Somerville. These and other early digital poems are discussed in C. T. Funkhouser's Prehistoric Digital Poetry.[5]

Hypertext poetry

Hypertext poetry refers to creative works that are interconnected through the mechanics of digitization.[6] This form of cyberpoetry has a specific focus on visual arts that are connected across different mediums.[6] In other words, hypertext poetry is a classification of digital poetry that links the reader to different places in a document or different documents on the Internet.[7] In general, hypertext poetry combines the elements of culture and intertextuality to marry poetry to various digital mediums such as images, videos, texts, and songs.[8]

Hypertext usually falls into two categories: exploratory and constructive. Exploratory hypertext poetry allows users to navigate through a text by interest, engagement, and reflection.[6] This means readers can explore and think creatively about a poem that is digitized on a computer.[6] Constructive hypertext poetry takes a different approach. This poetry is built by an audience over time to create a fully fleshed-out final draft.[6] Along with this, audiences can look at previous versions of the text.[6] In all, the focus of constructive hypertext poetry is how computer software and machinery can enhance the creation of poetry.[6] As such, users can see first-hand the amalgamation of an author's inspiration, writing process, and cultural influences.[8]

The advent of hypertext poetry can be dated back to the mid-1980s.[6] Ted Nelson is often credited for coining the term in the 1960s.[9] Ted Nelson coined the term as he believed printed text would soon be outdated and that literature would move to a more digital sphere.[10] However, there is some disagreement on when exactly the term came to be. "Hypertext" has origins in the 18th century.[11] Moreover, it is believed that Vannevar Bush's description of "the memex" in 1945 also referred to hypertext.[9]

While there are a variety of factors that have caused hypertext to be as well known as it is today, it's popularization can be cited back to two particular events.[9] One event is Apple's invention and heavy promotion of the "Hypercard" in 1987.[9] This made hypertext less niche, where thousands of people could now recognize and understand the concept.[9] In addition, there was a large national conference on hypertext held in 1987, drawing participants from multiple studies and disciplines.[9]

Interactive poetry

Interactive poetry is a form of digital poetry by which the reader may or must contribute to the content, form, or performance of the work, thereby influencing the meaning and experience of the poem. Interaction allows the reader to participate and influence the work and their experience of it.

Interactive poetry is limited to a digital medium as it cannot perform the same function in other media such as print, which limits accessibility. Interactive poetry can also provide a different experience with each reading or from reader to reader so analysis of this type of poetry can be challenging as the experience is not static.

An example of audience participatory poetry is haikU by Nanette Wylde. Elit scholar, Scott Rettberg writes of this project "Nanette Wylde’s haikU (2001) is a project based on principles of user participation and on the use of a randomizing function to produce haiku that startle in the sense of producing unintended juxtapositions—no single author has determined which lines will appear together. The reading interface is a simple, spare web page. Every time a reader reloads the page, a new haiku is produced. Following a link to “Write haiku” individuals can submit their own haiku in three lines, each of which has its own button to post the line to bins of first, middle, and last lines. The poems delivered on each reload of the site are not the individual haiku as submitted by readers, but recombinations of these first, middle, and last lines of haiku pulled together in a variable way. Reloading the page twenty times or so, it is remarkable how many of the poems read as if they have been individually intended by a human intelligence. Most of the haiku, perhaps 80%, cohere quite well as poetry."[12]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ Selfa Sastre, Moisés; Falguera Garcia, Enric (2022). "From Text on Paper to Digital Poetry: Creativity and Digital Literary Reading Practices in Initial Teacher Education". Frontiers in Psychology. 13. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.882898. ISSN 1664-1078. PMC 9249014.
  2. ^ "Computer-Generated Poetry Liberates Readers, Attracts Coders". Slice of MIT. Archived from the original on 2014-07-03. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  3. ^ The Present [Future] of Electronic Literature in Transdisciplinary Digital Art: Sound, Vision and the New Screen, Communications in Computer and Information Science (CCIS), Volume 7, R. Adams, S. Gibson and S. Müller Arisona, Springer.
  4. ^ Mazzei, Alessandro; Valle, Andrea (2016). "Combinatorics vs Grammar: archeology of computational poetry in Tape Mark I". Proceedings of the INLG 2016 Workshop on Computational Creativity in Natural Language Generation: 61–70. doi:10.18653/v1/W16-5509. hdl:2318/1603816. S2CID 10752052.
  5. ^ Chris., Funkhouser (2007). Prehistoric digital poetry : an archaeology of forms, 1959-1995. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 9780817380878. OCLC 183291342.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Siemens, Ray; Schreibman, Susan, eds. (2007), "A Companion to Digital Literary Studies", Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, pp. 161–182, doi:10.1111/b.9781405148641.2007.00010.x, ISBN 9781405148641, retrieved 2023-10-31 ((citation)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Selfa Sastre, Moisés; Falguera Garcia, Enric (2022-06-17). "From Text on Paper to Digital Poetry: Creativity and Digital Literary Reading Practices in Initial Teacher Education". Frontiers in Psychology. 13. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.882898. ISSN 1664-1078. PMC 9249014. PMID 35783757.
  8. ^ a b Abrosimova, Ekaterina (2021-05-27). "Hyperlink Phenomenon In The Modern Internet Poetry". European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Man, Society, Communication: 549–555. doi:10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.66. S2CID 236370245. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ a b c d e f Smith, John,B.; Weiss, Stephen,F., eds. (July 1988). "Hypertext". Communications of the ACM. 31 (7): 816–819. doi:10.1145/48511.48512. ISSN 0001-0782. S2CID 220735610.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link)
  10. ^ "Historians and Hypertext", Gateways to Knowledge, The MIT Press, 1997, doi:10.7551/mitpress/3202.003.0025, ISBN 9780262271929, retrieved 2023-11-02
  11. ^ Ridi, Ricardo (2018). "Hypertext". Knowledge Organization. 45 (5): 393–424. doi:10.5771/0943-7444-2018-5-393. ISSN 0943-7444.
  12. ^ Rettberg, Scott (2013). "Human Computation in Electronic Literature". In Michelucci, Pietro (ed.). Handbook of Human Computation. New York: Springer. pp. 187–203. ISBN 978-1493948154.