English 6055, Fall 2011

This is the song and video I mentioned in class

Jim Andrews, "Why I Am a Net Artist"

Essay #2: Media Specific Analysis of a Poem


For this essay, you need to select a visually mediated poem (in manuscript, print, electronic and/or other media) and perform a media specific analysis, as defined by Hayles in her essay “Print is Flat, Code is Deep: The Importance of Media Specific Analysis” (available in our shared folder) and as modeled by my dissertation. The poem does not have  to be on a work of electronic literature (it certainly can be), but it should be on a poem for which media is an essential signifying component. Your essay will offer an interpretation of the work that is based on analysis of any and all relevant aspects of the work, with special attention given to the poem’s materiality. Discussion of these aspects should be integrated in an essay organized by strategies that support a thesis.

A possibility for this essay is to explore a work that exists in multiple media and analyze deeply into what each medium contributes to the work. If you choose this approach, then you should offer an argument on the ontology of the poem (where is the poem?) and how that guides your analysis.


You may choose any poem (or closely related group of poems).

E-mail me a 250-word proposal by Friday, December 2 in which you provide the following:

  1. The author(s) and title of the poem(s).
  2. The medium / media the work is in.
  3. A brief description of your approach towards the poem(s), which justifies your choice and provides an idea on how you’ll analyze the poem(s).

The final essay should be approximately 10-12 pages in length (about 2500-3000 words). The final paper is due Friday, December 9. E-mail me your final version and leave a printed copy in my mailbox in the English Department.

On the day of the final exam, you will prepare a 20-minute formal presentation of your essay for the class, which will be evaluated and graded.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Readings and Assignment for Tuesday, November 29

Readings: “Typing the Dancing Signifier: Jim Andrews’ (Vis)Poetics” Pgs. 1-137,

Individual assigments: read the following assigned chapters (or sections) and prepare a 20 minute presentation on the material:
Ian: “Poet and Programmer” & “The Electric Pen” (107-158)
Josué: “DHTML Dances” (158-207)
Kathy: “Visual Music” (201-255),
Ricky: “Chapter 4 & Appendices” (255-306)

This presentation will be evaluated and graded, so be prepared.

You can download the dissertation at http://drum.lib.umd.edu/handle/1903/10799
Visit www.vispo.com to read the works referred to in the dissertation.


The URL says it all!

Pierre Menard Author of the Quixote (English Translation)

"Seattle Drift" by Jim Andrews

Luis Omar Salinas, "Crazy Gypsy"

"Loelia" by Mary Ellen Solt

"Loelia" by Mary Ellen Solt

Assignment for Tuesday’s Class

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Read the entire Chapter 2 (listed below).
  • Check out my presentation (embedded below).
  • Analyze 5 poems using visual information on the poem (briefly).


2. The Poem as Arranged Life The Private Life William Blake, Infant Joy William Blake, Infant Sorrow Louise Glück, The School Children E. E. Cummings, in Just- Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays Walt Whitman, Hours Continuing Long Wallace Stevens, The Plain Sense of Things The Public Life Michael S. Harper, American History Charles Simic, Old Couple Robert Lowell, Skunk Hour Nature and Time Anonymous, The Cuckoo Song Dave Smith, The Spring Poem John Keats, The Human Seasons William Shakespeare, Sonnet 60 (Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore) In Brief: The Poem as Arranged Life Reading Other Poems Anonymous, Lord Randal William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29 (When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes) Chidiock Tichborne, Tichborne’s Elegy John Donne, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning Robert Herrick, Upon Julia’s Clothes George Herbert, Love (III) Walt Whitman, A Noiseless Patient Spider Thomas Hardy, The Convergence of the Twain Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken Margaret Atwood, Footnote to the Amnesty Report on Torture Marilyn Nelson, Live Jazz, Franklin Park Zoo