Monthly Archives: March 2001

Constraints and creativity: text message poems

Matt Locke is part of the
project/competition team that have launched a text-message poetry
competition in The Guardian. In this introductory article, Andrew Wilson makes some lovely telling points about what the medium and it’s usage inspire…

“…text messages let us think about our reply, choose our words
carefully. They let us try to say something clever or cool, use written
words to strike a pose or have a calculated effect. Then the message
gets sent, the words bounce around in the ether, and at the other end
someone tries to work out what it means: do we really fancy them, or
are we just being friendly? That gap between what we think our words
mean, what we try to make them say, and what they say for themselves,
is poetry.”


“Text messages are short, so the subject has to be
tackled in a way that will fit into 160 characters. There isn’t space
to tell much of a story. A text message poem has to find one truthful
moment and describe it, whether it’s seeing the red moon during the
lunar eclipse – or not seeing it becaue it was cloudy; the way everyone
stands up at once during a football match; a child asleep in the back
of the car on the way home from a holiday. Ezra Pound called it the
luminous detail. Find it, show it and let it speak for itself.”

Guardian Unlimited: TxtmsgPoetry


This from the new WiReD… like the way it frames the use of paper as a
medium that people understand that can be extended. Seen three separate
presentations/articles about 3g ‘smart pens’ in the last couple of
months… seems like a lot of people are converging on it.

“This is the most advanced digital
input screen ever developed,” he declares. “It has very high
resolution, perfect contrast, and costs a fraction of a cent to
produce. Any graphical interface can be printed on it, and you get
years of full-time education, paid for by the government, to learn how
to use it. It will not be beaten in our lifetime.”

He puts the paper in my hands. “And I can give it to
you, because I have hundreds more,” he offers, gesturing toward a stack
of blank paper on his desk. FĂ„hraeus isn’t handing me a sketch of the
input screen. The paper is the screen.

Wired 9.04: The Hot New Medium: Paper