Digital Writing Month: A Code-Poem Experiment

I saw a challenge over at Digital Writing Month: create a html code poem. Eh? Why not?
Here, first is the poem in raw text:

<body>
<p>Yes, I see you. Do you see me?</p>
</body>

I’m <strong>
perhaps but not so </strong>
as to <img src=http://badg.us/media/uploads/badge/image_poetic-thinker_1350505650_0891.png> imagine
how you might be <em> listening </em> to my <i>words</i>
and yet so often fail to <a href=http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2012/04/25/the-7-pillars-of-connecting-with-absolutely-anyone/> connect </a> with me</a>
in these shared experiences
in a space that gets <small>smaller all the time</small>.

You may <break> my meaning into <p>aragraphs</p> and then
into words, and then into <small>bytes</small>, and then slowly reduce me <ins> the hidden me</ins> into
<ul>
<li>emotion</li>
<li>thought</li>
<li>memory</li>
<li>echoes of the pst</li>
</ul>
<sub>while down here</sub>, where I watch you
<sup>towering over me </sup> in my dreams,
I fade
and fall <break> apart.

You leave me <font size=”8″> feeling <font color=”blue”>blue.

And here is the poem, when converted:

Yes, I see you. Do you see me?

I’m
perhaps but not so

as to imagine
how you might be listening to my words
and yet so often fail to connect with me
in these shared experiences
in a space that gets smaller all the time.

You maymy meaning into

aragraphs

and then
into words, and then into bytes, and then slowly reduce me the hidden me into

  • emotion
  • thought
  • memory
  • echoes of the pst

while down here, where I watch you
towering over me in my dreams,
I fade
and fall apart.

You leave me feeling blue.

The difficult part was trying to think through what would be invisible and what would be visible in both formats, and how the code commands might inform the poem itself. I’m not sure I completely captured that, to be honest. It’s difficult to toggle meaning between two languages like that. I like it better as raw html. You?

Peace (in the code, in the poem),
Kevin

9 Comments
  1. Pingback: Digiwrimo Challenge: Code Poems | Sad Iron

  2. I especially like your use of the STRONG tag.

    How do you think about the relationship between the poem in/as code and the poem as product of code? I was thinking of the former as the poem itself and the latter as a browser’s reading of the poem.

    • Interesting idea — the poem as filtered through browser. I’m not sure how I was thinking about it (ignorance admission) and why I thought it important to see it both ways. I think I was curious to see what the blog would do to the poem, written in code. But something gets stripped (the tags are part of the meaning of the poem) and something gets added (multimedia — and I particularly liked the subscript/superscript dichotomy). Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to comment.
      Kevin

    • This is exactly how I’ve been thinking of it–the code is the poem, yet the presentation is the “reading,” or even failed reading (as in your example where the browser won’t represent text). For me, this opens up really interesting ideas for subversion, for protest poetry.

    • Does it make you also think how many interesting things are beneath the web pages we visit every day? Like a code mountain that is underneath our browsing eye where programmers live out hidden dreams of just expressing themselves, screaming at the tops of their lungs, whilst maintaining the brief and their web standards? Do we even need to see the poetry by publishing it on the surface? I am super glad you did, because it was great :) but the romantic in me wants to stumble across it when something makes me think to – right click -> view source – would make a great short story anyway – or poem?

  3. Love this a lot, though I can’t even tell you why yet. It’s funny that you end the post saying you preferred the raw code version because that’s exactly what I’d been thinking; it made me stop and think about HTML itself in a fresh way, kind of seeing in it the possibility of a new type of concrete poetry. Would love to see this incorporated into poetry units, see what kids come up with… Anyway, thanks for sharing. :)

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