ENGLISH 261/DMS 222 (Fall, 2000) TR 11-12:20, Rev. 11-9-00
Dr. Glazier (glazier@acsu.buffalo.edu) 645-6000 x1490
Office 245 CFA, Office hours: TR 12:30-1:30 pm or by arrangement
Class website: http://writing.upenn.edu/epc/fall2000


READING & WRITING DIGITAL LITERATURE provides an opportunity to explore the expressive potential of language as a creative material, with a focus on its semantic, alphabetic, visual, and aural levels. Non-semantic forms of expression will be studied as keys to unlocking this potential. The immense value of 20th century experimental literature to your own efforts to design or interpret digital writing is a major concern of this course. We will be thinking about the multiple possibilities of language, as a conjunction of possibilities, textures, tones, meanings, and media. We will look at digital literature as a merging of form, image, language, and sound, and we will explore works that somehow union do this to extraordinary effect.


There is one text to purchase, Rothenberg & Joris, eds., Poems for the Millennium, vol. 1 (available at Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main, Buffalo). Your online resource will be the Electronic Poetry Center (http://writing.upenn.edu/epc). There are also two books on reserve in UGL (Messerli, ed., Language Poetries: An Anthology and Silliman, ed. In the American Tree) which you can check out for two hours at a time. You may also wish to consult Ubu Web (http://www.ubu.com).


GROUP PRESENTATION (15) [Group discussion in class]

In a group of three, prepare an introduction to one of the course topics. You may divide work any way you wish but the three areas of preparation are (1) research the subject, (2) prepare a brief oral presentation (15 minutes), (3) prepare a brief list of discussion questions with enough photocopies for the class. The group must also hand in a brief group presentation report. This will contain the names of the members of the group and one or two sentences about how you divided up the work. It will also include a bibliography listing full citations in correct format for sources (2 print and 2 Web sources).

INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION (5) [On your midterm project]

You will give a brief (5-10 minute) oral presentation on a digital poem from the EPC E-Poetry library.

POETRY READING REPORT (5) [Extra credit only]

Attend one poetry event and hand in a one-paragraph report. Consult the Wednesdays at 4 Plus calendar at the EPC for details. Choose from Berssenbrugge, Piombino, Brossard, Rich, Federman, Bergvall, Fourcade, or Notley.

MIDTERM PROJECT (20) Due 11/2 [25 points]

Pick a poem from the select list and prepare it in HTML. Subtlety of expression is a plus. You may be asked to revise it if necessary. (Extra credit option (25) will be given to those who reserve a poem early or choose a poem that requires typing.) You must verify in advance with me which poem you will do. These and other poems are available but you must confirm your choice with me in person. (Poems are in word processing file format. You must download a poem and then use your word procesor to view it. (One poem is in Excel format and four are in Quark. Please take these if you have access to such software!) This is best done on campus where connections are generally faster.) Some poems that require typing are available from me directly.

Midterm Requirements. Hand in a print-out of your midterm. The print-out should show the URL for the project. (Note: I know that it will not print-out correctly. I will look at the online version to see what it should really look like.) Attach a title page to the print-out with your name, the date, course number, and URL for your project. Follow this with a page that contains a one-paragraph explanation about the relationship of your mark-up to the poem/piece of work you prepared. The order of these materials is: title page, explanation, print-out. Staple these pages together. You should credit yourself on your project Web page with a line similar to the following (substitute your name for "Your Name"):

<hr><p><font size=2>HTML Mark-up by Your Name</font></p>

FINAL PROJECT (40) [Research project on a digital poet from the EPC E-Poetry library or other topic, by arrangement.] Due 12/5.

Choose a poet from the EPC's E-Poetry Library. Study the poet's work and prepare a web page and a 5-10 minute oral presentation on the poet. The Web page should be about one page in length and should begin with the name of the E-Poetry List poet and link to the poet's work. It should then present the following information: (1) Short paragraph giving biographical information (if available) and listing publications by the poet. (2) One paragraph describing the type of work the poet does, the content of the poet's website, a general sketch of the poet's work as you see it at the website. (3) One to two paragraph interpretation/analysis of one work by the poet, including a link to the poem you are discussing. In your analysis, you must also refer, through comparison or contrast, to one or more works of the poetry we have studied in class. FINAL PROJECTS MUST BE COMPLETED BY 12/5. LATE PROJECTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Hand in a print out of your project with a cover page indicating the poet you are presenting, your name, the date, and the URL of your project. Independent project topics are possible by arrangement with me. EACH STUDENT MUST TURN IN A ONE-PARAGRAPH PROPOSAL, INDICATING THE E-POETRY LIST POET THEY WILL PRESENT (due 11/14). If you do not turn in your proposal by 11/21, one letter grade will be deducted from your final project grade.

NEW: Note for independent projects: My first preference is for you to do an e-author projects, as above because they are really much less labor intensive. Also, since the structure has been pre-determined, you can simply focus on "reading" a digital poet/poem. However, if you choose to do an independent project, please be sure to DOCUMENT your project. Think of the structure, the rationale, and express this in a three-paragraph explanation, as indicated in the link above. Be sure to explain the concept behind your project, its rationale, why it is designed the way it is, what you hoped to communicate, and what you learned by trying to do it.

NEW: Here is a more detailed format for the final. This also includes a list of topic assignments.


Participation in class activities and completion of written exercises are vital parts of this course. Points will be deducted for non-participation or after 3 unexcused absences.


Extra credit is available for additional poetry reading reports and for volunteers for class webmaster duties. See me for details.


Office hours are TR 12:30-1:30 pm or by arrangement. Please let me know after class if you intend to come to my office on any given day.


If there are any changes to this document I will announce them in class but please note that the most recent version of it will always be available on the course website. Please check the website regularly. A revision date appears on right end of the first line of this file.

A list of topics is available.