Electronic Literature
Sample Syllabus: Freshman Advanced Composition
Lori Emerson
Georgia Institute of Technology
In this course we will proceed from the premise that digital writing and communications media have altered our understanding of what it means to read and write, and therefore these media offer us new perspectives on earlier "bookbound" writing--in particular, we will look at the ways in which media offer us new perspectives on poetry. In other words, given our investigations in the first part of this class, we will attempt to reread bookbound poetry throughout the twenty-first and twentieth century through the lens of the digital. For example, we will ask ourselves: can we understand early twentieth-century futurist F.T. Marinetti's call for cinematic "words in freedom" as a precursor to flash-based digital poetry? Are Dadaist Tristan Tzaraa's chance- generated poems related to computer-generated and/or mediated works? Were concrete poets such as Eugen Gomringer trying to create poem-objects in the same way that digital writers such as Aya Karpinska are trying to create 3-D poetry environments? Were Oulipo writers such as Raymond Queneau trying to mimic autopoetic processes and computer-influenced feedback loops in their self-referential, looping writings? Were sound poets such as bpNichol writing and performing their works in a way that is substantially different than digital sound poets such as Joerg Piringer? We will, then, be examining historical precedents to multi-media poetry at the same time as we will be troubling the creation of a neat historical progression in writing from one medium to the other.