Separation, by Annie Abrahams is what’s known as E-Poetry. This piece of electronic literature allows the reader to disconnect him or herself with technology. That is where I believe the title “Separation,” comes into play. Abrahams forces the reader to navigate through this piece line-by-line and I mistakenly fell short of her requirements. I am the type of person who likes to move quickly through things and get them over with. This was my downfall in reading through this piece by clicking way too fast and my punishment was, who I believed to be the author, sending a pop-up box ordering me to slow down and not click so aggressively. I believe there to be a comical side to this because obviously the author cannot tell how hard I am clicking the mouse on my computer. What the author does is states the initial reason for the pop-up box and then gives a couple extra “unrealistic” reasons this could have happened. Although, this did aggravate me a little because I had to start from the beginning, it also taught me a lesson. It showed me I do have to slow down in life and allow things to happen as they should, not try and fast forward everything in order to really understand certain concepts.
While navigating, slowly now, through the piece, I found myself confused as another pop-up box appeared. I thought to myself, “was I clicking too fast again?” After reading what the box has said, I realized that I was not and that now the author wanted me to apply what she was saying about pain and make it more of a physical activity by opening my mouth as wide as I could while I raise my eyebrows as high as I could. The expression on my face was funny, I know this because as I was holding it, my brother walked into the room and laughed at me. At the same time, I realized it was starting to hurt, holding it for so long. I assumed it was a simple expression to not only read the word pain, but feel it as well.
Soon after clicking through the poem, still slowly, another pop-up box appeared and this time it wanted me to shrug my shoulders. This involved some body movement so I positioned myself up right in order to do it properly. Although annoyed at not being able to relax as much as I wanted while navigating this piece, I found the end of the shoulder shrug to be realizing to my body. Clicking further into the poem, I noticed the next pop-up box appeared after the word pain again, but this time it requested for me to rest. I started to feel more and more relaxed and clicking through this piece slowly became less and less of a hassle.
Following through with the rest of this brilliantly made piece of electronic literature, I realized that the next few pop-up boxes that appeared, allowed me to stretch in very useful ways that allowed my body and mind a break from each section of the poem. The boxes seemed to appear exactly at the right moment of the poem between the times it popped up and after each and every word it appeared after. The previous word would always relate to my next move that was about to be made. I was surprised that at the end there was no pop-up box, only questions that made me think about our separation to not just the computer, but technology in general. This piece allowed me to slow down, inhale and exhale slowly, and just distance myself from technology. Ironically, I was able to do with while using technology and that was what the brilliance behind this piece was.
I am so glad I chose to do Separation before reading David Jhave Johnston’s Sooth. Now that I was calm and able to explore more intimately, I was able to really get the feel of this next piece if electronic literature. This too, is a type of E- Poetry so it was able to fit well with the other piece, but in a completely different way. Johnston created this piece with not only words, but also noises and sounds in order for the reader to get a better feel. Abrahams was able to do that with movement while Johnston allowed the reader to only listen in order to convey the message.
Instead of going through each and every one of the 6 poems the author delivers, I will only go through my favorite one and the one I related to the most. That poem is titled “Snow.” It begins with a moving image on a sheet of snow, self-explanatory. After clicking the image once, words in the poem, the first line, pops up abruptly and in a rotating form. This allows the sound of what seems like to me as melted snow dripping water from higher ground. Maybe my brain is clouded by the image of snow, but that is what came to mind. Then there is this music that starts to play as I click more and more for more lines of the poem to appear, also in a disoriented form. The music changes from upbeat to a more eerie sound and in the back of the music sounds like a fire crackling or something of that nature. I related that back to the beginning melting of the snow sound that I first came in to contact with.
Each time I click more and more into the poem and more lines appear while the others float around aimlessly, the sound waves differ. There are some that have an echo and others that sound almost “alien-like.” As if E.T. from the movie was trying to “phone home” right on the screen. While clicking through the sounds stop for a second and after one more click there is the sound of wind, which almost makes me feel cold in a way. After that it sounds as if footsteps are being walked through in the snow in a harsh way. Then the crackling of the snow appears through sound and disappears quickly, back to what seems like sounds waves of communication from a transmitter. After clicking and navigating more and more I see a pattern appear, this pattern is that of the words recycling and the noises and sounds as well. This indicates that the poem will never end unless the reader in fact, puts a stop to it. This is different than the other poem because that had a definite ending to it.
I think the reason I chose to discuss this specific poem is because the image related directly to the title, whereas the others had almost nothing to do with their titles. Both electronic literature pieces were created differently, but I enjoyed them equally. The transition was easy as I was able to relax between the 6 poems given in Sooth because of the set up from Separation.