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.
DAVID O'BRIEN is a fine artist and an architect. He is collaborating with poet Mandy Kahn on a project that expands individual poems into built 3D experiences you can enter like rooms. He worked as an architect at Gehry Partners in Los Angeles and later, engineered art on the scale of buildings for the firm Electroland. As a fine artist, his work has shown at MOCA (Los Angeles), Johansson Projects (Oakland), Janine Bean Gallery (Berlin), Richard Heller Gallery (Los Angeles), BreezeBlock Gallery (Portland) and LACE (Los Angeles).
David Shook is a poet, filmmaker, and translator. His debut poetry collection, Our Obsidian Tongues, is available from Eyewear Publishing, and was long-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize. Shook is the creator of the Poetry Drone, an unmanned missile designed to drop poems instead of bombs, which has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the New Yorker, the New York Daily News, the Huffington Post, Good and Vice. Shook is a contributing editor at World Literature Today, Ambit, and Bengal Lights and is a contributing blogger at the Huffington Post. His translation of Mario Bellatin’s Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction is available from Phoneme Media. He was the English PEN Translator in Residence for the Poetry Parnassus, where he premiered his poetry documentary Kilometer Zero, covertly filmed in Equatorial Guinea.
MANDY KAHN is coauthor (with Aaron Rose) of the nonfiction book Collage Culture: Examining the 21st Century’s Identity Crisis (JRP/Ringier), which is sold worldwide. The book was also released as a record with a score by No Age. Her first collection of poems, Math, Heaven, Time, will be released by Eyewear Publishing in March of 2014. She has collaborated with many composers to create works that feature poetry in tandem with classical music, and has had readings and signings at Colette (Paris), Motto (Berlin), Shoreditch House (London), Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco), Printed Matter (New York), and Art Center College of Design (Los Angeles).