Nothing moves very quickly in the poetry world, but I was very happy to have Fashionable Noise, from 2003, reviewed in the online journal EconoCulture by a guy I knew (barely, he was two or so years younger than me, which in college means a decade) back at Bard named Mike McDonough. He’s got a sense of humor!

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Cyberpoetry

by Michael McDonough

Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics
by Brian Kim Stefans
Atelos, $12.95
ISBN 1-891190-14-8,
Supplements to the book can be found here.
    I hates cyberpoetry
    And I can’t hates no more
        — a poet

I had no idea what cyberpoetry was before I encountered Brian Kim Stefans’ book Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics, (Atelos 2003) and, subsequently, the work on his website  I already knew Stefans as a brilliant student of Modernism, from our undergrad years at Bard College (he was seriously into Zukofsky’s A when I had just figured out Lawrence Ferlinghetti), so I thought I would give it a try.  I figured anything with the prefix cyber- was going to be self-consciously cool and high-tech. 

A chat Stefans had with Darren Wershler-Henry is transcribed in the book, and it provides a breezy overview of the field, but abounds with high-tech jargon and avant garde movements: Neo-Fluxus and Brazilian Concrete are just the tip of the iceberg.  There seem to be as many sub-genres of cyberpoetry as death metal.  Soon, we’re down to genres with only one pure practitioner—maybe not the best start for a beginner.  But the chat makes clear that cyberpoetry exists in the zone where words meet readers: the interface, a word I am going to say a lot in this piece.  Some examples of artistic interfaces are animated texts, digital settings of printed texts, and cyberpoems created by running source texts through various computer algorithms. 

Read the rest of the review…