Lori Emerson, Kathi Inman Berens, and I received permission today to show Thom Swiss's flash poem, "Shy Boy," at the upcoming MLA 2012 "Electronic Literature" exhibit. Thom's work, we feel, is crucial to the show because it represents a good starting place for understanding electronic literature.
First and foremost, it is a highly accessible work of literary art that combines concrete poetry and animation. The poem, therefore, enacts the ideas suggested by the words, which move across the screen and disappear from view. We see the shy boy "melting" between "Health" class the the "Playground," the word itself melting off the screen. We see the shy boy "vanish[ing]" among the crowd of students, much in the same way that the word itself vanishes. The use of the monochromatic palette represents the boy's lack of individuality, of presence among his peers, for he is an "eclipse he studies in science class," a "smudge" of a pencil.
As we lead up to the conference, I will highlight other works we plan to show at the exhibit. If you are attending the MLA, drop by room 609 at the Convention Center and see the other works we have collected for you to experience.