I began a life-long concern with non-linear poetic forms in 1966, with a series of polylinear poems called Word Nets. By 1968 this concern had evolved to an ongoing series of Diagram Poems, which continues to the present. The diagrams began as an effort to support word clusters, by analogy to the musical concept of tone clusters; because the juxtaposition of words in a cluster disrupted syntax, an alternate channel was necessary for syntax. The diagram concept has provided a rich ground for experimentation with structural concepts not present in ordinary syntax, including null relationships, feedback loops, and interior links. This body of work includes Diagrams Series 3 and Diagrams Series 4, originally published as ad hoc circulations printed on a dot-matrix printer and published on-demand by the author. Diagrams Series 4 was available on-line electronically without manufacture through The ArtCom Electronic Network on The WELL, Sausalito, CA, prior to the advent of the World Wide Web.
Since 1988 my work has consisted of interactive poems. Earlier works were developed on a Macintosh computer using HyperCard software and ported to Windows using Oracle Media Objects. More recent works utilize web technology and the open source interactive environment Squeak. In this ongoing work, beginning with Intergrams, the word cluster is at last implemented as words overlaid in the same logical and physical space, with the mouse used to render individual phrases legible. This is combined with the diagram notation using hypertext links to simplify navigating the diagram. Intergrams, Diffractions through: Thirst weep ransack (frailty) veer tide elegy and The Barrier Frames: Finality crystal shunt curl chant quickening giveaway stare were originally published by Eastgate Systems, Cambridge MA, and are available in reissue here, along with newer works The Inframergence, Diagrams Series 6, and Diagrams Series 5.
I have published numerous papers and
essays, and three of my papers have received nominations for
the best paper award at the ACM conference on hypertext. This
prose work is collected in my book Word
Space Multiplicities, Openings, Andings: Collected Essays and
Papers in Digital Poetics, Hypertext, and New Media,
published by Computing
Literature, and distributed by West Virginia University
I have lived since 1974 in a stone house built in the late 18th century in Grindstone, PA, with my wife and co-experimenter, the painter Mary Jean Kenton. I have supported myself programming computers, from which I retired in January 2013 to devote full time to poetry and defending where I live against the ravages of fracking.
(Photo by Deena Larsen, Hypertext 99, Darmstadt)