Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Brief Pause for Some Word Clouds

Wordle is a Javascript tool for making "word clouds" out of texts. It's fun to play with periodically A nice way to take a break from Deep Thoughts, or just waste an hour.


a representation of this page of this website

It's also a quietly subversive way of crossing those usual boundaries between poetry and art, passing back and forth at will. The idea of making clouds out of the words of a poem, in which the words which appear most often are the most prominent in the cloud, is beyond clever. It points out how the visual arts can include the verbal and linguistic arts. At times it can approach visual poetry, something more than just a typographic layout, or hybrid. Furthermore, the ability to be surprised, by using the Randomize function, allows one to play with the aleatoric arrangement of typographic and verbal layout.


a compilation of all the poems I wrote in 2009


from a poem, Walt Whitman's Summer Wander Across America


from a poem, The Deer Antler

If we consider text as art, what I have sometimes called matrix poetry, what some others call cleave poetry, you can still read a poem arranged this way as a text. The arrangement on the page leads us to read the poem in several ways, several directions, each of them generating a facet of experience of the poem. (For example, "Blanco" by Octavio Paz, or sections of "The Little Mariner" by Odysseas Elytis.) We can read it in any direction, we can start in the middle, and read outwards, we can go where our eye is drawn. For example, our eye might focus on the most prominent words in this example, and leap between them; gradually our perception of the poem unfolds to include the smaller words, till the poem as a gestalt fills our mind. This presents several new ways to read poetry, when poetry is presented as a visual art. And there are possibilities that come to mind, when combining this sort of visual text with an actual image, as juxtaposed or complimentary collage.

For example, the poem above, about deer, might be conjoined with these images of deer at dusk, from Capitol Reef National Park, in Utah:

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2 Comments:

Blogger Pat said...

I love these....of course...words and art are lovely combined when done as beautifully as you do them.

Sis

12:08 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Thanks! :)

7:17 PM  

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