Student Work Magazine
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Those Who Wait Despair
This concrete/visual poem was written for English 716: Poetic Craft and Theory, taught by Brenda Cardenas.
In Loving Big Brother: Performance, Privacy and Surveillance Space, John McGrath explains that seeing their images in footage psychically conjures death by presenting "us an image of ourselves so separated from our consciousness that it is though we see ourselves 'already dead'" (17). This, in turn, leads to the creation of images specifically for the camera, images that take on the form of trauma, as in the melodramatic performances of talk show participants. By depositing an extreme form of their trauma in filmed images, the trauma is symbolically separated and killed off, and "the guests can walk away, leaving these bodies to circulate" (212).
The initial creation of the image may be an "intervention," but the after-effects of its circulation seem to me many, complex, and largely outside of one's control. And this is one more aspect of how representation isn't precise, isn't accurate; this is one more form of "excess." The floating camera strategy I employ in "Trauma Body" is meant to invoke this excess. In the poem's structure I utilize the concept of a webcam floating in the corner of a computer screen. The poem consists of a prose poem (a poem formatted like a paragraph and that does not have line breaks) that contains four smaller lineated poems, one in each corner. The smaller poems are ostensibly floating in the corners of the larger poem, and lineation is floating at the edges of prose. I see this form engaging McGrath's notion of trauma bodies. Identity can't be located exactly; it is multi-faceted, polymorphic, and fluid. The images (or past) still remain, but the conscious interacts with them differently according to time and context. There is no fully articulated self, and there are many registers for speaking/performing various notions of selfhood.
watch and ward: digital and otherwise
This poem features short poems or sections of a larger poem in text boxes of various sizes arranged non-linearly (depending on one's perspective) across the page. The multiple text boxes were created in response to thinking about multiple feeds or streams, from surveillance cameras as well as different media. The multiple boxes are meant to connote "lack" through pointing to multiplicity: multiplicity of meaning, of context, of framing devices... The space between the boxes is just as important as the boxes themselves or their arrangement. The boxes are a proliferation of "trying to get at" that never "arrives at." The space between them is what can't be filled up, boxed in. (In addition, the poems within the boxes are epistolary and often addressed to concepts and other impossible recipients.)
Midwestern Water Wars
A collaboration between Professor Lane Hall, Trent Hergenrader, and Craig Medvecky
This project is an ongoing experiment in collaborative, non-linear, yet cohesive hypertext fiction. We started out with only a few rough ideas of the world we'd be developing and even fewer rules about what or how we should contribute. The Waterwars site currently features fragments from history books, poems, and even literary criticism from this fictional era. The site also uses images, such as maps and museum exhibit displays, and we plan on adding more multimedia content over time.