Last week I attended an interesting workshop by Alycia Pirmohamed, a Canadian-born poet based in the UK, and the winner of the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. The online event was part of Shetland Arts Wordplay 2021, and focused on ideas about landscape in poetry.
One of the writing exercises involved about envisaging a recent walk, and in another part of the workshop we studied a passage from Schizophrene – a ‘fragmented notebook’ by Bhanu Kapil. The passage made use of a lot of parentheses and, amongst other things, we talked about how this changed the way in which a reader interacted with the text.
Off the back of some of these ideas, and echoing a little with some of my previous forays into interactive poetry, I did a little coding and came up with a draft piece using a system of interactive parentheses. I know – bonkers! Anyhoo, it is called weel kent which is basically Scots for ‘very familiar’.
As with most of these interactive experiments, I can’t embed it here in the blog, but you can view it by tapping the button below which will open a new web page.
Like a quite lot of my pieces, weel kent is intended to be wry more than very serious.
Once you get there, if you tap square brackets  in the text, each parentheses will expand to reveal their own content. That stays for a little while, then fades away. If you tap again, it appears again, and so on…
weel kent was quite a quickly compiled experiment. It might have been interesting to play around with layout a little as well. Perhaps this could have reflected the form of the short walk described. However, while a web page is good for interactivity, print is a much easier medium to play fluidly with layout. Next time maybe…
Stop Making Sense! is a website with light-hearted activities spinning a dizzy birl around the fraying threads of poetry and not making too much sense at all. There’s a collection of contributed nonsense to rummage about in (and contribute to) plus – it’s entirely FREE and anyone can join in, without actually having to go out!
Thanks to those worthy souls who’ve already contributed a verse.
Have a look, have a go, but most of all, have a laugh!
This post is a bit of an experiment! The idea had a couple of starting points…
I was looking at some Lady’s mantle flowers in bright sunshine. This started off a chain of thought which had a lot to do with the process of branching – how we see it in natural growth, echoed in man-made patterns, and also in mathematics.
I decided to try to make an interactive poem, where your choices can affect the flow of the poem. To begin with I chose something quite simple, and fairly structured. I wrote three short threads of poetry about my Lady’s mantle ideas, then developed a page using Ink that allows you to choose how the poem branches as you read. So in the end I had a poem about branching … that could actually branch!
I’m not able to embed the resulting poem here on the blog, but I can host it on my website, so I’m going to add a link to show it in a new window, but if you’d like to come back here and like this, and/or leave a comment about it, I’d love to hear from you…