This is the Hope: Digital Poetics as a New Form for a New Age

Student Author(s)

Taylor Rebhan

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Pablo Peschiera

Document Type


Event Date



Major advances in technology have a unique and intense ability to change the way a society expresses itself. From the invention of the printing press to the advent of the World Wide Web, new technology has shown its capacity to shape the arts, literature, and society in ways that were previously unthinkable. Poetry reflects this phenomenon through its history of experimentation with visual form. From the early days of Greek Pattern-Poetry to today’s constantly evolving digital poetics, technology has challenged poets to reconsider the architecture of their textual presentation. However, within this challenge lies another difficulty: how to strike the proper balance between modernity and quality. This is the task that poets have encountered in the past, and it remains highly relevant for the digital poet today. In this paper, I show how the advent of digital poetry is parallel to the surge of previous trends in visual poetry, particularly that of Brazilian Concrete Poetry in the 1950’s. From there, I assert that digital poetics should be viewed as a new poetic form, separate from its predecessors, and that it should be taken into consideration by the poetry community. I illustrate this by revealing the process of making my own digital poem, as well as by analyzing important works in digital poetry. By weaving a thread between past and present forms of visual poetry, I show that much can be learned about the future direction of digital poetics by looking at the challenges and breakthroughs of the past.

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