by Derek Morrison
Over many years I have curated and authored several blogs for different purposes, e.g. www.auricle.org, www.veloscience.org, but I would like this one to be different from all of them. Here I would like to use poetry as the vehicle for carrying a message or putting a point of view about the increasingly digital, networked, cyber, world we live in.
Technology and poetry? Technologists and poets? Some may consider this an unlikely and particularly challenging combination. When, however, we consider the accelerating impact of cyber technologies and systems on our lives and environment then reflection is not just wise, it has become essential. And poetry can be a pretty useful and cogent reflection and communication tool whether it’s telling a story, conveying fears and other emotions, or addressing issues.
While the message in a blog, Facebook, or Twitter posting may well cause a stir, extreme passions aren’t usually generated by the way the narrative is structured, or by the use of colloquialism. Put something into verse, however, and for some readers, the message can become less important than the literary purity of the presentation. Such readers will zoom in on meter (metre), feet, iambic pentameter etc. There are many examples of beautifully structured poems (some by much published authors) that follow all the poetic rules, and which may well be applauded by a self-appointed cognoscenti; but which can also be viewed as turgid, inaccessible, exclusive verse by the non-cognoscenti (such as me). After all, the Scottish bard Robert Burns or even Bob Dylan (in his lyrical poetry phase) were not exactly exercised by concerns about iambic pentameter.
There is a significant section of the poetry community, however, that challenges the poetry orthodoxy and have suggested that concepts such as meter are not part of the fundamental nature of poetry at all, but are simply imposed constructs. The American author, poet, and critic Dan Schneider has suggested in his essay Robinson Jeffers, & The Metric Fallacy that if the same principles were applied to music then everything would use just two notes and that would make for a very limited range of musical form and expression (Editor’s note: some early punk artists helped to carve out a performance art form just by using just three chords on a guitar).
So CyberStanza will be multi-denominational and aims of offer orthodox or non-orthodox poetry of any length. My own bias is towards the oral/folk tradition of poetry, i.e. what it sounds like when read out to an audience rather than how well it conforms to some formal literary rule.
Even if all the verses don’t turn out to be literary exemplars the poems will always try to:
- demonstrate they have researched the topic of the poem
- produce something that amazes, amuses, and informs
- aim to stimulate the reader to pursue the topic further.
Some of the above will be achieved if each poem is followed by a background, comments or notes section. I aim to incorporate the genesis of the poem, its influences and any associated references for follow-up about the theme addressed.
Intellectual Property and Attribution
All poems in CyberStanza will be original work created by the author(s). All poems submitted remain the intellectual property of the author(s) but permission for republication at no cost will invariably be granted on request – but must be attributed.