Sherwood Publishes Digital Poem in International Anthology

Posted on 10/10/22 4:56 PM

Kenneth Sherwood (English, co-director of the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture) published the digital poem "Coal Code" in the peer-reviewed Electronic Literature Collection. Programmed in Javascript, the multimedia piece combines lyric voice tracks with an array of images reflecting upon and recycling stories and postcard images from nineteenth-century coal culture in Pennsylvania.

The web version of the work invites viewers to interact with the piece, shaping the aural and visual experience, changing the tempo, intensity, and shifting between the symmetry of "duet mode" and the chaos of "random." The literary work can be viewed here

The code poem was created by Sherwood as his contribution to a collaborative installation with IUP Art Professor Bob Sweeny hosted in the Kipp Gallery. Sherwood previously published a version of the text as a print-chapbook called Code of Signals

The editors of the e-lit collection wrote, "All e-lit works involve interaction with technology, which can occur at any stage in the process from conception to reception. E-lit works, to some degree or another, incorporate: (1) literary qualities co-produced by human and algorithmic interaction; (2) formal and/or conceptual innovation; (3) a transforming experience for readers through expressive algorithms." 

An international scholarly nonprofit, the Electronic Literature Organization published this anthology to feature an international range of works in the field, including 132 literary works from 42 author nationalities in 31 languages. The prior three editions of this anthology were published in 2016, 2011, and 2006.

ELO editors explain: "E-literature...derive[s] meaning from a fusion of computational and literary layers. This fusion shows that human literary creativity entwines technological innovation with cultural and historic context." (ELC 2022). 

Prof Sherwood teaches special topics courses on electronic literature in the graduate program in Literature and Criticism at IUP, and he designed the undergraduate ENGL421 Digital Writing course. He also presented virtually on the teaching of e-lit to IUP Honors College students at the annual ELO conference this past summer.