Upside-Down Poetry

The digital poem┬áThe Future of Publishing, created by the Brits of Dorling Kindersley Books and produced by Khaki Films, literally speaks to the issues of platform within the publishing community. The platform used here is a video which, as a result of its platform, provides audio commentary to the lines of the poem as they glide across the window. Audio commentary is something that the codex is incapable of doing in isolation; you would need another person to read it to you as you followed along to get the same visual and audial experience. Having the commentary also sets a specific tone for the poem as it is read. Since there were no instructions included with the poem, if there had been a lack of commentary, I’m not sure if I would have even known to read the text backwards. It seems only necessary to this digitalized text. The movement of the lines is also symptomatic of its platform. We know that the physicality of the codex cripples its ability to move without our help, whereas the digital poem is capable of moving its own text, thanks to sneaky HTML codes.

Despite the differences in platforms between this digital poem and the codex, the video still contains an element borrowed from the codex. The coloring of the video is made to resemble the traditional white paper and black text found in the codex. Perhaps this is because the mission of the poem is to “reverse how you see me (digital publishing)”. The aim of the poem is to suggest the new promises of publishing. It’s not the end, but merely a platform shift that can contain old elements of structure, as well as new creative options. For example, the significance of the lack of punctuation is vital to the surprise reversal of the poem. The phrases have completely changed, and valid punctuation could not have worked in both readings. In this aspect, digital texts give more liberty than the structures embedded in the traditional codex.