Multimedia Poetry

Multimedia cyberpoetry uses sound, graphics, and text in ways important to the poem's form and content. A cyberpoem audio track is generally not a soundtrack for the poem or a recorded performance of the poem. It adds another level of meaning. For example, the audio portion of "Projects for Mobile Phones" (2000) by Alan Sondheim uses the sounds of mobile phones to divide the poem into "calls" or "exchanges" rather than sections.

The interpretation of multimedia cyberpoetry frequently depends upon decisions the artist makes to define the level of access users have to the work. Some multimedia cyberpoetry is like short film: Audience experience is controlled, and interaction is limited. Other multimedia cyberpoems are like computer games: The audience juxtaposes, rearranges, or "clicks through" words to make more than one poem within a controlled environment. Multimedia cyberpoetry can be more dependent upon poets' and audiences' technical skills, creativity, design skills, and software and hardware purchasing power than procedural poetry or patois poetry.

UBUWEB online is an important archive hosting historical sound poetry, such as the artist Kurt Schwitters's wordless "Ur Sonata" (1922-32), alongside contemporary multimedia cyberpoetry. Other websites feature videos of contemporary poets and performance artists, such as Tracie Morris. Some poets who wrote sound, performance, and visual works that challenged relationships of text to language to word to page are now embracing the new challenges of the screen, including Steven McCaffrey, Anne Tardos, and Joan retallack.

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