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New Ways to Read

Our last class was the beginning of a semester-long conversation about literature, reading, writing, new forms of literacy.  As I think back to what we covered together, there really is so much to consider when thinking about the act of reading in our lives.  This quote from Jessica Pressman’s early article entitled “Navigating Electronic Literature” makes us all think further about how the act of reading might be changing: “Electronic Literature demonstrates how navigation is not only a central characteristic of the digital literary work and it’s aesthetic but also a primary source of its signification.”  Where is the source of meaning produced when we read?  How is the role of the reader changing?  Can a reader also be a part-author of text?  How so? I decided to have you all read Michael Joyce’s Twelve Blue in tandem with Pressman’s article as a way to build an early foundation for our journey into the world of electronic literature, and as a way to signal new experiences in reading and writing. Your shared and collaborative notes on Twelve Blue and Pressman’s article are full of insight regarding these difficult questions.  

New ways to read…

I want to share that I am impressed with you all. You are willing to share your earnest impression of new ideas and new experiences …..and you have even expressed fear, anxiety, and discomfort. Your openness is a good sign. Learning is often linked to forms of vulnerability.  And so your admittance of these unforeseen experiences in reading (at the start of our journey) is a sign that we are in for a great deal of authentic learning together in #elitclass!

Our class slides:


everything can be read, every surface, every silence, every breath, every vacancy, every eddy, every current, every body, every absence, every darkness, every light……

Some ideas to consider from our discussion last Wednesday:

Michael Joyce’s Twelve Blue = a reading experience; a conceptual exploration.

Many expressed frustration, and many felt a sense of exploration and discovery emerge after some more time spent with the text.  Perhaps we could claim that the piece was “writerly” but the story was never compelling because there was no cohesion.  You observed a lack of any discernible pathway to reading.   You also admitted that a lack of any identifiable closure was unsettling.

Themes/Motifs: reading & flowing; water- upstream/downstream, stillness & turbulence, being submerged, fluid and changing; memory; color; nature/seasons; traces; generations (young vs. more mature); history; perception (looking); multiple paths/multiple meanings; “skyways” (routes, infrastructure, mobility); self-referencial elements

Character, plot and relationships: there are relationship “networks” but there was definitely some confusion – some readers knew some characters, other readers knew others, some of our knowledge of the text overlapped, some did not, etc.

Reading strategies:   Some click on threads or the hyperlinks within the text randomly, some readers decide to stick consistently by a certain thread color, while others might discover the titles for each of the lexia tabs and use this as an attempt to “frame” possible meanings.  Some readers think about the number 12 as a clue to a reading strategy, while some attempt  basic “note taking” and/or “mapping” in an attempt to discern patterns or meanings.

Assessment: 12 Blue reminds us all of the active role of the reader in creation – we are “navigators” beyond just readers;   There is an underlying structure that cannot necessarily be apprehended but is determined by the code of the work. (This is the central illusion – that readers have agency through navigation, but still, the world is a closed design determined by the underlying code).

I think the idea of an illusion will be a keyword for us to consider throughout our exploration of #elit.  With Twelve Blue, we struggled to apprehend an ending, but perhaps there is beauty in the fragments.

Some critical/review articles

These articles give you an idea of how critics/scholars write about a text like 12 Blue (this is optional reading, but thought it might be interesting for you:

12 Strange, Blue Rains: Touch Evocations in Elit via Kathi Inman Berens

Selected Bibliography of Hypertext Criticism:

Postmodern Culture, Volume 8, Number 1, September 1997

Don’t Believe the Hype: Rereading Michael Joyce’s Afternoon and Twelve Blue by Anthony Enns (2001 in Currents in Electronic Literature)

Some follow up planning issues:

All of you have selected a date for your presentation.   A few of you still need to tell me what text you will present.

The first presentation for your E-lit Reviews will start next week – thanks to Patricia for volunteering to kick this part of class off.

All of you should be syndicated into the course website by now, under the Student Blogs tab of this site.  Please remember that your blog post for each week must be published BEFORE CLASS by each Tuesday morning.

Also, a reminder to tweet your blog posts to the class hashtag #elitclass each week and any other #elit reflections that you think are worthy of public notice.

For next week:

Thanks for a great start to the semester #eitclass….

See you next week!

Dr. Zamora

Jumping into the World of Elit

Jumping into a new world…

Again, it was great to see you all last Wednesday evening, and I feel like slowly but surely we are getting to know each other a bit more and starting to connect. It was a pleasure to read all of your introductory blogs, and our in-class “Story of Your Name” exercise was another window into who you all are. I really enjoyed that part of classtime together, and despite the fact that we are “online-only” I am feeling a growing sense of connection as we build a sense of trust and community together (…slowly but surely). I am also glad we covered some basic tips on how to use twitter (and our class hashtag #elitclass) in order to grow a PLN (professional learning network). Over time, I am sure you will all gain more confidence in this aspect of our asynchronous learning together.

Here are the slides from last week:

You are welcome to review these slides that cover an introduction to the most prominent genres of electronic literature (and they include some links to examples of each genre highlighted). This understanding of the general  #elit “categories” will serve as a foundational vocabulary for our overall exploration of electronic literature throughout the semester.  

The Electronic Literature Collections

Surf the Electronic Literature Collections (Volume 1, Volume 2, & Volume 3)!  Just peek around and open up different texts to discover what awaits you there.  Start to search for a few texts you might want to choose for your review presentation.  Make a mental “shortlist” of your top choices to work with, as we will settle our “Elit Review Presentation” schedule next week. As you look through the Electronic Literature volumes this week, please notice the expectations & strategies you bring to the texts. What do you like & why? What frustrates you and why?  Remember to be open to new experiences, because they are there, …just waiting.

Your “to-do” list for next class:

Read Pressman’s “Navigating Electronic Literature”.  This essay is located in “About Electronic Literature:  New Horizons for the Literary”.

-Read Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce for 1 hour.

-Your second blog post is due.  Please write a reflection about your Twelve Blue reading experience in relation to Pressman’s article about reading elit.

-Please email me with: -two possible dates for your forthcoming presentation; -your first and second choice for your electronic literature selection from one of the ELCs for presentation.

Getting Started

I was so happy to welcome all of you to #elitclass last Wednesday evening and take a bit of time to acclimate to our new context of online learning. It was great to see and hear you from you, as we start to get to know each other a little bit. Here are the “Welcome to #Elitclass” slides that I used to guide us through the evening:

A review of some of the things we have accomplished so far:

-We have introduced ourselves in a collaborative and informal way.

-We have talked/walked through the course website and syllabus.

-I have presented an overview of where to find our primary readings: the Electronic Literature Collections (Volumes 1, 2, & 3).

This coming Wednesday evening, I will start our semester-long discussion of electronic literature by sharing an overview of some of the most recognizable genres of electronic literature.  This understanding of the general  #elit “categories” will serve as a foundational vocabulary for our overall exploration of electronic literature throughout the semester.  

-We will look at our Course Calendar together, and we will plan our presentation schedule a bit. And we will discuss the electronic literature review assignment that each of you will share as a presentation in class during the semester.

To do for next Monday when we meet again:

-Please create a free WordPress blog.  Each week, you will be writing a reflective blog post that captures your writing and learning process for the week.  Please send me the URL (web address) for your WordPress blog by filling this form out by Wednesday, Sept 9th.  I will feed your individual blog sites into our course website, so you will all be able to access and read everyone’s weekly blog post on the course website under the tab “Student Blogs”. In addition, please create a twitter account and get ready to tweet!  This account will be used professionally and you are welcome to use an avatar for the purposes of the course.  We will use the hashtag #elitclass to grow our connections and share glimpses into our individual writing processes. 

Looking forward to seeing you all next week,

Dr. Zamora

Welcome to #elitclass

Welcome to “Writing Electronic Literature” also known as #elitclass.  Soon we will meet each other for the first time as a class, and embark on a journey that will be transformative for all of us.  Some of you might have an idea of what Electronic Literature might be, while others are really not clear.  Some of you might feel relatively self-confident in a technological environment, while others might feel more than a bit of trepidation.  Whether you fall into one of these categories or the other, I guarantee you will learn a great deal in this class.  You will learn many practical things, like how to work with new technologies that you have never been introduced to before.  But more importantly, you will all learn more about yourselves.  You are invited to jump into a new realm and explore and discover.  And you will have ample chance in this class to exercise both your analytical skills and your imagination.

I look forward to connecting with all of you soon, as we discuss what this course can mean to all of us.  We will begin by collectively considering what literature is, and what new media and the digital realm might offer to expand our understanding of what literature can be.  Throughout our class together, this website will be our “home base”, and soon each of you will have your own linked blogs which will be syndicated here on this site under “student blogs”.  

This e-location for our work together will house our collective reflections, our resources, and our continuing conversation throughout the semester.

Here are a few videos to get that conversation started:

“How to Read A Digital Text”

“E-Literature Explained”: