Much like the previously explored hypertext fiction and interactive fiction, kinetic and interactive poetry explore the fusion of writing and technology to augment the way a person is able to explore and interact with a story. In Scott Rettberg’s words, “kinetic and interactive poetry explore the specific multimedia capacities of the contemporary computer as a poetic environment for both composition and reception” (Rettberg, 118). What kinetic and interactive poetry seek out to do is use the resources available from a computer to create a new breed of modernized poetry.
Two examples of kinetic and interactive poetry are Y0UNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES’ “Rain on the Sea” and David Jhave Johnson’s “SOFTIEs”. “Rain on the Sea” and “SOFTIEs” both make use of audio and music to add extra meaning and feeling to the poetry. Among other techniques, the two pieces set out to bring the anti-art movements of the early 1900s to the screen.
In the case of “Rain on the Sea”, the opening countdown, old-timey music, and layout of the poem gives it the feeling of a silent film. However, the stylistic choice of moving the words so quickly that upon the first time viewing the reader is only able to catch part of the story gives it a true feeling of avant-garde electronic literature. “Rain on the Sea” is an important example of film poetry, one of the many styles of kinetic and interactive poetry that exist.
Johnson’s “SOFTIEs” is even stranger than “Rain on the Sea”. Although part of it consists of short, traditional pieces of poetry, the rest of it consists of poetic proses being distorted, twisted, and stretched on a plane with ominous music in the background. “SOFTIEs” sets out to give words a second meaning, not just in what they mean but also in how they are presented. It is a good example of visual poetry, or “vispo”.
Although there are many more examples and subgenres of kinetic and interactive poetry that can be explored, these two are solid examples of what the movement has sought out to express with the addition of technology to writing.