[-empyre-] to all members: what is e-poetry to you?

maria mencia m.mencia at freeuk.com
Thu Mar 5 22:46:09 EST 2009

Last Friday over lunch, no wine though, I was asked precisely that  
question, what do you do? Every time I am asked this question I don’t  
know how to start. A colleague, before I had time to say anything,  
said I was an electronic poet. This is because I ‘ummmed’, in the  
Just a minute radio 4 programme I would have been accused of  
hesitation and another contestant would have continued with my  
definition but not here, so I had to explain what that ‘could mean’.

When I am asked what e-poetry is, I always feel I need to use a very  
simple way to explain what it is or what is not. I taught Spanish for  
many years and I seem to come back to the same way of talking to  
somebody whose first language is not Spanish. Also, every time I try  
to explain what e-poetry is, I say something different and it changes  
depending who is asking. The genre is so wide that it is difficult to  
encapsulate it in a strait definition, it draws from many disciplines  
and this is what makes it always different so I am not surprised  
people are still on their ummmms. Even though my definitions are  
always different I seem to touch upon the same notions. My background  
is on philology and fine arts so my work draws from these fields.

I am sure with wine I would have been more eloquent, alcohol is good  
for that but this is what I said: poetry brings all kinds of  
interpretations and yours might be very different to my understanding  
of it, I don’t write poems in a traditional sense, whatever that is.  
I am interested in language structures, deconstruction of meaning,  
phonetic sounds, the visuality of the letter, the word, the  
appropriation of signs from other contexts such as advertising, and  
use them to discuss social political issues. At this point, I gave  
them a small explanation of my Cityscapes piece to make them  
understand the textualities of image, sound, text, references from  
fine art traditions such as the use of collages, graphics, and  
linguistic traditions, phonetics from different cultures… it is the  
connection of art, language and technology. I was going to further  
into netart , installation, interactivity and the reader/viewer, ways  
of reading in the electronic medium, code … but, we were interrupted.  
Little did I know I was going to ask this again in 5 days time.

Now, thinking about it, Thursday morning, a week later, I think I  
find the word ‘poetry’ difficult but not what I do.

We are using new languages, new mediums, new platforms and poetry is  
only one of the many components of this pluralism, or perhaps poetry  
is just a word of the past. Maybe I do e-language, I am an e-language  


On 5 Mar 2009, at 06:15, Angela Ferraiolo wrote:

> thanks, that's wonderful ...
> .
> .. maybe those ( new ) ways are already there, have always been there,
> the way the language of montage was always there, existing in the
> imagination, accessible through intuition, the use of film just made
> that language evident ...
> of course include everything, especially harmonicas
> On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 8:18 PM, dj lotu5 <lotu5 at resist.ca> wrote:
>> this is epoetry:
>> http://vimeo.com/3431670
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Dr Maria Mencia
Artist/Senior Lecturer
Kingston University, London
United Kingdom
email: m.mencia at freeuk.com

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