Analyzing my dreams

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Part Two: Taking a longer look at The Dreamlife of Letters:

When I went back to investigate this electronic poem, I looked more closely at the context in which it was written.  The author wrote the poem as part of his response in an e-mail roundtable to literature and sexuality.  As the number to position, his response came in direct response to the person in the number one position, a woman who wrote a traditional response to the text at the center of the roundtable discussion.  However, the author of Dreamlife took a decidedly different approach to his response.  The words in his poem are an alphabetical arrangement of all the words in the response written by the number one seat.  He wrote his poem originally as a print poem, with sections and stanzas, and then only later illustrated it and animated it as part of the video that was included in the Electronic Literature Library. 

So, I think I can see a pattern, or at least a common idea emerging out of all of this that speaks to the interconnectedness and cyclical/developmental nature of all literature and writing.  The words of the original response were born for a specific purpose, but then by deconstruction and rearrangement they comprised a new work, completely different.  Then, the same words were again changed by artistic flair, adding a new illustrative element to it all.  We see one set of words, three different ways, producing three unique final products.  We may all be constantly creating "new" work, but is it ever really original work?  Even if we don't realize it, there some that influenced our ideas, or train of thought, our critical thinking process that made us make the decisions we did.  This poem and its history help us look at that idea from a different perspective.

In my second main response to this poem, I couldn't help but imagine myself in the position of some of the other roundtable participants.  If I were there, I'd be like the female author in the number one position and write a traditional literary response.  How surprised would I be then, to see the number two position come a long and jumble my work into some crazy poem.  What kind of answer is that?! I guess this reaction is showing me the stereotype I might have for creativity - sure, experimental work is great but within its proper parameters, within the proper time and place.  Here, the author breaks those boundaries by turning a traditional response into a very nontraditional work amidst a very traditional atmosphere and setting.




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