Not Dead Yet: How Technology is Saving Poetry
The technological era presents a major challenge to poetry: brains accustomed to digital speeds are trained to consume information quickly, to scan through lists and posts looking for usable content—to PLUCK instead of to PONDER—while reading poetry requires close consideration and a focused mind. How can such a static form possibly retain interest in the digital age?
Enter a new crop of thinkers, who are using technology to expand poems into experiences created specifically to appeal to the fast-moving, digital-era mind.
Poet MANDY KAHN and ARCHITECT/FINE ARTIST DAVID O’BRIEN are collaborating on a project that expands individual poems into built 3D experiences you can enter like rooms.
POET DAVID SHOOK has created the POETRY DRONE, an unmanned military missile that disseminates poems instead of bombs.
And ANDREW KESSLER is the creator and CEO of Togather, an online platform that pioneers innovative ways to present literary content.
Additional Supporting Materials
- Members of the tech generation are deluged with content: they encounter more information than they can comfortably process. What’s missing in all this content is the organizing principle of meaning, of pathos. But poetry might be a perfect antidote to what’s been termed “millennial malaise”: it’s an incredibly efficient way to encapsulate meaning. But how can you expose a new generation to a form they have no interest in experiencing?
- The challenge of finding new audiences for poetry is as much about PHYSIOLOGY as it is about TEXT. How does poetry’s brevity make it well suited to contemporary minds? What research regarding contemporary cognition and information consumption have you considered in your development process?
- How can technology overcome poetry’s biggest challenge: low funds in the industry? Is technological poetry too expensive to be practical? Or does it have the potential to bring new cash flow into a fledgling industry?
- Does a person who first experiences poetry as a 3D experience necessarily want to transfer to the lo-fi experience of words on a page? Or can experiential poetry serve as a gateway to old, lo-fi forms? Is it meant to, or is it meant to be the birth of an entirely new genre of poetic transfer?
- How would you respond to literature purists who believe any interaction between poetry and technology cheapens the poetry?
MANDY KAHN NONE
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