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"Netcessary" literature

Hypertexts, e-poetry, and netcessary* literature

by Jessy Randall

Paper-based hypertexts:
Jorge Luis Borges, "The Garden of Forking Paths" (1941)

BS Johnson, The Unfortunates (1969)
Choose Your Own Adventure books (1979)
more on CYOA

Milorad Pavic, The Dictionary of the Khazars (1984)

Wikipedia entry on digital poetry

A plain and simple hypertext: Peter Howard's Midwinter Fair

Annie Abrahams: Wishes

Atomic Antelope and Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland iPad app

Jim Andrews, Stir Fry Texts

first snow
one fiction

Caroline Bergvall: Ambient Fish

Alan Bigelow

Natalie Bookchin: The Intruder

Todd Boss and Angela Kassube: Motion Poems (short films of poems by Robert Bly, Jane Hirschfield, and others)

Wendy Burk and Eric Magrane: Pace of Dream (powerpoint presentation)

Billy Collins: Action Poetry (short films of poems). In particular, see Forgetfulness.

Linda Crespi (some only work in Explorer):

Raphael Dagold and Matt Kirkpatrick: Broken Sonnets

Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich: Bembo's Zoo (flash version of this high-concept abecedary)

Drunken Boat examples, 1999-2009

Ze Frank:
what we want
help illustrate a poem

Kenneth Goldsmith: Fidget

Lee-Anne Grunwald

Daniel C. Howe and Aya Karpinska: No Time Machine

Michael Joyce, Afternoon: A Story (first hypertext novel)

Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry's Apostrophe Engine

Jennifer Ley:
The Amniotic Meander
Fool's Gold

Jason Lewis: Nine

Carrie Lorig & Chad Redden: We Are the Spaces Touching

Taylor Mali: Killing the Speech (text/film/rant/comedy)

Tim Minchin: Storm (animated film)

Jason Nelson

The Numberlys app

Mendi + Keith Obadike

Jessy Randall (some only work in Explorer):
The Seventh Grade Poems
A Letter from Henry

Claudia Rankine and John Lucas: Situations (poetry films)


Ricepirate: DotDotDot (a flash animation of a voicetrack of a review of a game)

Brian Kim Stefans: The Dreamlife of Letters

Jim Thompson (collector): New York City (They Might Be Giants video)

Dan Waber: Strings

Gregory Weir: Silent Conversation (game/poems)

Sasha West and Ernesto Lavandera, Zoology


Lots more about e-poetry at ELO (Electronic Literature Organization, includes links to their collections 1 and 2), The Electronic Poetry Center, Peter Howard's Hypertext Poetry and Web Art, and Poems that Go, a now-defunct magazine. Or try The Shape of a Box, a youtube lit mag, or Here Explodes My Giant Face, which publishes poetry videos. And there are (or were) at least three literary magazines on Twitter: Baby Trotsky, Form.Reborn, and Outshine.

Perhaps related in some way to digital literature, perhaps not: altered books / book-related-art by various book artists, Thomas Allen, Ellie Brown, Brian Dettmer, Zach Gage, Guy Laramie, Lori Nix, Robert The, Miriam Schaer, and Tona Wilson. Books that destroy themselves: Zach Gage's Antagonistic Books; self-blackening book by Camille Leproust and Andres Ayerbe.




Online magazines (just a small sample)

Boxcar Poetry Review, (poetry)
Cortland Review (has audiofiles)
Eclectica, (poetry, fiction, essays, started October 1996)
Goblin Fruit, (fantastical poetry)
H_NGM_N, (poetry and poetics, chapbooks)
Maudlin House, (fiction, poetry, comics)
, (humor)
Menacing Hedge, (prose, poetry, multimedia)
Ohio Edit,
Pank, (poetry, fiction)
, (pays!)
Snakeskin, (poetry, monthly, started December 1995)
Stirring, (poetry, monthly)
Strange Horizons, (speculative literature)
2River View
, (poetry, chapbooks)

Databases and other lists of online magazines

Poets and Writers lit mags database, (free)
Duotrope's Digest, (free trial, monthly fee)
Web Del Sol's top-fifty list,

Contests and calls for submissions

Creative Writers Opportunities List (CRWROPPS)
The classified section of Poets and Writers is updated regularly.


My advice

Find a magazine you like a lot and then use its link page to find others. Or, do a Google search on a contemporary poet you admire, and see what magazines turn up that way.


Further reading on netcessary* literature
Find books in a library near you with Open WorldCat

Louis Armand, ed. Contemporary Poetics. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007. In particular, see Marjorie Perloff's chapter "Screening the Page / Paging the Screen: Differential Poetics and the Differential Text."

Jan Baetens and Jan Van Looy. "E-Poetry between Image and Performance: A Cultural Analysis." The Journal of e-Media Studies, Vol. 1, Issue 1 (2008).

C.T. Funkhouser. Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms, 1959-1995. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2007.

Loss Pequeno Glazier. Digital Poetics: The Making of E-Poetries. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2002.

Jessy Randall. "The Age of the E-Poet." 2011 Poet's Market, ed. Robert Lee Brewer. Cincinatti: Writer's Digest Books, 2010.



*Netcessary literature is literature for which the internet is necessary. It is related to, but distinct from, flarf. I, Jessy Randall, invented the term in 2001. It has not taken off.

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maintained by Jessy Randall ; last revised, 9-2016, jr.