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

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Serving up poetry in the 21st century.

Among the various experimental and visual forms of poetry, node poems fully embrace the spirit of the Information Age. The SpicyNodes online interface allows the poet to write the lines of the node poem, and then choose color schemes and soundscapes to enhance a reader’s experience of moving through a poem.

In contrast to other visual forms, the poet must then let go and allow each reader to construct the poem as he or she pleases. The poem is no longer linear, but instead is multi-dimensional, giving rise to exploratory journeys of comparisons and cross-connections.

The reader as leader.

Node poems are reminiscent of the progression of experimental writing that puts readers in control of the content. This form harkens back to earlier, low-tech versions of works controlled by readers, such as Emily Dickinson’s poems that utilize variants words written on the bottom of the page and B.S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates, an unbound novel placed inside a box for readers to rearrange the papers to their preference. SpicyNodes, the underlying technology for node poetry, works a bit differently. Instead of readers rearranging the order of entire pages, they have control over small snippets of language, with the title of the poem as the vortex and the subsequent lines providing a 360-degree journey through the poem and the relationship of words, images, and ideas. The technology also enhances traditional poetic forms, from haiku to free verse. SpicyNodes works with every level of structure, from strict sonnets to the most expressive visual poetry. Besides the node poems highlighted in this section, you can navigate this entire exhibit in node format.

A new town square.

Just as ancient cultures used poetic presentations to give audiences vast amounts of material in bite-sized chunks, SpicyNodes acts as the 21st century orator in presenting nuggets of information within today’s town square – the Internet.