Follies in Project Design

Poetic Composition
Nov 22, 2021

Something that my professor and I have been pondering of late is the proverbial “home” and nature of the work within this project; In what format or medium, exactly, does the poetry “live?” Where is it most true to my intentions for it, where is it most honest?

I’m not sure I really have an answer, but to begin to delve deeper into the topic, we can start where I do: conception. Every poem in this project began as an idea stashed away in a note on my phone, always available to me whenever inspiration strikes. As I think on it more, I begin building the bones of my poem in my head, sounding out the initial word choices and tempo/rhythm. After this, I sit down to “officially” write my poem in a notebook I keep on my desk, safe at home, each line and stanza carefully handwritten.

And so, we have our first possible answer to the question: in the notebook of course! It’s where the poem is originally developed, its birthplace. But, this answer would be inadequate, even if it is rather sentimental, as the entries in my notebook do not contain any of the line information, topics, keywords, nor the ever-important accompanying artwork. So, where else could it be?

Well, after handwriting them, I transcribe each poem into a large, compilation Google Doc, which is where I begin to input the additional information I listed above. But this form is also missing the artwork, as well as embedded metadata that would give additional context and meaning like the XML encoding would.

So it must live in the XML, then, correct? Even there, the art is missing. Without intended audio-visual experience, each poem is, in essence, incomplete. Only with the combination of audio, animated background, and encoded poem, does everything come together the way that I intend. With that conclusion, the best answer I can provide to our questions would be on the website itself, trapped within HTML. But even this response feels lacking and disingenuous.

Open any poem on the main site, right click, go into the source code, and just look around. Observe how each line, each stanza, is interrupted by elements wrapping and attributes littering the page. Can you imagine reading any poem this way? Additionally, even with all that I’ve done, I can’t control each person’s viewing and reading experience the way that I truly want to; every monitor has its own color settings, every new mobile devices skews the formatting, those who are hard of hearing or visually impaired will lack the means to fully appreciate what I intend…

In the end, I would suppose, even if it’s hideously cliché, that my poetry only really, honestly lives inside of my own mind, and all of my attempts to project it outward are (if only slightly) inaccurate or flawed. Such is the nature of producing art.