Infinite Canvas: House of Leaves of Grass Poem

DH306, New Media

Another exploration of the infinite canvases possible with digital technologies. This is House of Leaves of Grass, a dizzying computerized poem with over (purportedly) one trillion stanzas. It’s another wonderful gift from Mark Sample. My response to the work took came by way of screen captures and a spont-prose poem I read over some fun sound design.

Reading House of Leaves

DH306, New Media
A page from House of Leaves

A page from House of Leaves

This is my second time through the novel, that great sprawling beast of literature that almost defies definition, Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves. Experimental would be the most base term to use to label it, while Post-Print fiction has recently been assigned, with always the Gothic and Satirical running through the mayhem of categorization. No matter how you view the novel, it is extremely effective. We can debate the story(s), which has its problems and holes, but the unified work achieves something greater than the sum of its parts, much like the titular house.

(De)Constructing Digital Literature

DH306, New Media

photoPart of being a digital humanist means being a collaborator, and there are a plethora of facilitating platforms like GoogleDocs and Storify to link and co-author content. But sometimes deconstruction applies too, as Mark Sample proposes “what is broken and twisted is also beautiful, and a bearer of knowledge. The Deformed Humanities is an origami crane — a piece of paper contorted into an object of startling insight and beauty.” In this vein, here’s an Emily Dickinson poem that’s been deconstructed and rearranged, words linked by tangential pathways that make the poem malleable. You can read it however you choose, beginning wherever you want.

Comment below with the best phrases you find.