A page from the "Poetry through the Ages" exhibit...

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Just as visual poetry utilizes the page as an extension of poetic themes, node poems use an interactive online interface to make readers active participants in exploring and constructing poetry. Like synthetic poetry, node poetry focuses on fresh, innovative content that is free of the constraints of traditional forms. The node form lets writers construct lines of poetry into tree-like structures, with the first line forming the trunk and the subsequent lines dispersing like branches and twigs.

Then, readers journey along each branch, creating comparisons and cross connections for themselves. Whereas traditional, static poems allow movement down a page full of lines and stanzas, node poems ask readers to take control over how poems develop and flow. While all poetry allows readers to analyze and probe intellectually stimulating language, node poetry gives readers the opportunity to play with the building blocks of poetry, the language itself.

Node poems utilize the SpicyNodes interface. SpicyNodes is produced by the same research team at idea.org that develops WebExhibits, and it is free for any artistic use.

Rhyme: Varied, according to the poem
Structure: Preferably shorter lines (15 syllables or less), to allow development of the nodes
Measure/Beat: Varied
Common Themes: Universal
Other Notes:
  • Nodes can run many levels deep, or spread out ad infinitum
  • Nodes create a graphic presentation of the poem
  • Nodes invite readers to explore specific sections of the poem.