Poetry and the Effects of New Media

The last century has seen the development of technology that has changed civilization forever. The development of media has been affected by technological advancement. Information is archived and transmitted to end users in a variety of methods, which are referred to as media. The expansion of the Internet has altered writing, and poetry is no exception. People who compose and read poetry have experienced specific changes as a result of the expansion of new media. No matter the caliber of the writing or whether it has been printed, new media has made it simple for anyone with Internet access to share their writings with a potential worldwide audience. Has this led to extreme outpouring of talent, poetry renaissance in the digital age, or second rated creativity that undermines the core values on which poetry was built on?

New media has transformed the democracy in writing and authors since the decisions on who is considered a poet are no longer limited to publishers, critics, and literary judges, but encompass the general public and the individual who decides to write and post his workings online. In recent years, researchers have dedicated resources to the in-depth analysis of internet literature. A growing consensus in the literary school indicates that genres of literature cannot be understood beyond their specific forms of transmissions. However, technology has influenced the development of digital poetry, code poetry, and other modernized types of poetry. This article examines both positive and adverse effects of new media on the genre of poetry.

The Development of Poetry

Poetry is one of the oldest genres in literature, in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative attributes. Poems resonate differently due to containig multiple interpretations related to the art of expression. Poetry is essential not only for aesthetic pleasure, but also due to its ability to invoke deeper senses and foster connection among individuals and influence synthetic thinking since it involves using language as a metaphor. Poetry consists conveying a bigger picture in limited words and space. Its precision in language has influenced transformation in other forms of oral and written literature and communication (Di Rosario , 2011). Besides, for centuries, poetry has been known to arouse and provoke thoughts associated with complex social issues.

The earliest forms of poetry were used as a means of remembering history, law, or merely storytelling. In the past, poems were sung rather than recited. The initial forms of poetry existed as hymns, indicating the close relationship between music and poetry. The employment of a rhythm and repetition was fundamental in fostering individuals to remember and to be able to retell. In many societies, poetry existed before writing was available; therefore, it was an essential way of storing knowledge on religious matter, history, and everyday activities in the ancient civilizations. The Greece poetic movement was based on culture and intellectual activity (Eggiton & Wegenstein , 2009). In the period from VII to IV centuries BC, hundreds of dramas were performed, with a good number featuring exquisite lyric poetry. Poets in the ancient Greek society were dramatics who wrote for choirs and performed for kings. Greek developed the majority of the classical forms which created the underlying of literature centuries after the fall of the Greece.

Ancient thinkers aimed to criticize poetry by what made a poem good or bad by analyzing characteristics that made poetry a distinctive form of literature. The Epic of Gilgamesh is often considered as one of the earliest ways of epic poetry dating back to the XVIII century BC. Mahabharata and Ramayana are other examples of old epic poems. Ramayana is an essential narrative in Buddhism and Hinduism in many regions in Asia (Mereu, 2017). The Chinese society assessed poetry through the Classic of History and developed the core attributes of poetry that had aesthetic importance. Classical scholars employed the use of classification in the assessment of quality of poetry. For instance, Aristotle poetics categorized poetry into epic, comic, and tragic poetry. Later, Aestheticians identified the genres of epic and dramatic poetry, in which both comedy and tragedy poems were considered subgenres of dramatic poetry.

Poetry was institutionalized as a practice since the Renaissance. Aristotle’s writings were influential in Europe during the Renaissance. In the western society, Iliad and Odyssey, the works of Greek mythology, were among the most notable works of epic poetry. Later, poetry was determined as an opposition to prose which involved writing with a rich language. Chinese verses is one of the oldest forms of recorded poems. The development of classical Chinese poetry involved both literary and oral cultural processes that corresponded with various Chinese dynasties and chronological arrangement of Chinese historical events.

Sonnet form involves works in iambic pentameter with various rhyme scheme. Sonnets are among the most famous works of poetry, which came to be best understood as an English poetic form through the works of William Shakespeare in the XVI century. The XIX century was characterized by many romantic poets who wrote on everyday occurrences in the society with love as the primary theme. Since the end of the XIX century, poetry as a genre has undergone extensive renewal to form the modern poetry. The XX century has witnessed some poets winning the renowned Nobel Prize (Eggiton & Wegenstein , 2009). Modern poetry still uses verse to store and transmit information. While some people consider poem to be heavily related to music, others believe musical attributes such as rhythm, refrains, and repetition are merely a device to assist the reciter in reconstructing the poem from their memory.

Poetry is traditionally recognized as an artistic language related to both spoken and written forms. However, the oral medium is considered more productive in many domains. Written poetry fails since it is unable to showcase the extra-segmental parts such as the modulation and tome. Poets who preferred written to oral poetry tried to bridge the discrepancy by employing visual figures and highlighting sections that require the oral use of duration and stress in some instances (Morris & Swiss , 2006). Lyric poetry developed as a result of the expansion of literacy. It implies short personal poems that are initially intended to be sung. In the mid-XX century, the beat movement, a group of poets who sought to live life like they defined it created poetry through a mixture of jazz and other free-expression. The beat movement was the rise of socially-informed free verse poetry, which gave start to a new era in the study and appreciation of poetry. The development of new media has influenced the resurgence of performance poetry in the lyric game.

The significant conventions of poetry include repetitions, rhythm, rhyme, assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, imagery, personification, and metaphors. Metaphors include comparison between different aspects and concepts. Personification entails giving human feelings to something that is not alive. Assonance and alteration are related, but assonance involves repetition of the same vowel sound, while alliteration requires repetition of the same letter to start two or more words in a line (Mereu, 2017). Repetition encompasses the repetition of the same word or phrase to draw attention to it. Onomatopoeia showcases a word that sounds like the word it represents. Imagery is the use of descriptive language that illustrates what is physically happening. Rhythm on the hand involves manipulation of the length and stress to create a pace. Poetry manipulates several styles of writing to achieve certain distinctions.

New Media

New media describes press that is dependent on digital rather than analog technology. Digital technology utilizes a dualistic code in the transmission and storage of information. Data is then decomposed to an interface which is user-friendly depending on the end user. In new media, information and data exist electronically rather than physically. As such, there is no requirement for a physical object for a poem to exist. A verse may be recorded involving the manipulation and remixing of electronic information. Some of the most common examples of new media include websites, mobile applications, human-computer interface, and computer animation. Old media such as televisions, radio, and print press used the analog system of information transfer. The comparison between new and old media is discouraged in many spectrums due to the novelty of the idea ‘of “newness.” The shift from analog to digital form of technology has involved a fundamental change in how human beings perceive the organization and transformation of information (Poole & Ho , 2011). The difference in transmission and reception of data has influenced a change in how literature is written and read.

New media includes the social media applications such as Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and others, which make the users direct participants. Social media applications allow the users to interact with each other through making announcements or posting images and videos. In the past decade, social media applications such as Facebook and Instagram have risen in usage with billions of subscribers across the globe.

In the mid-XX century, connections between computing and original art began to escalate. However, it was until the late 1980s and early 1990s that real progress started in computability concerning personal computers. Before the 1980s, media relied heavily on print and analog broadcast techniques such as television and radio. The dawn of computers transformed the entire old press as illustrated by digital TV and online publications. New media has changed the control of information. Currently, the contemporary society is witnessing a shift in universal interconnectedness through different networks such as social media, audio, video and electronic text communications (Poole & Ho , 2011). Many scholars assert that new press provides potential for democratic society in which individuals irrespective of location could freely discuss concepts related to art and other social issues in the community.

However, new media has facilitated fabrication, which reduces the appeal of poetry. Poetry is based on the concept of originality and creativity. Despite the advantages associated with new media technologies, it provides specific disadvantages in the complex nature of the social setting (Brito, 2014). Despite the contents, the increased accessibility of information may have the potential to influence children and teenagers adversely.

Poetry in a Digital Age

Literature is a social and cultural institution that is subject to change depending on the society in which it is produced. Literary conceptualization involves understanding the construction of information in different genres, taking into account the author’s assumptions and intentions, the targeted audience, and the medium used. The advancement in technology prompts the understanding of language use in the digital spectrum. In new media, different forms of expressions such as aural, visual, gestural, spatial, and linguistic meet and interact, thus changing the association among printed word, image, and sound. The change in the media of text alters how it is read and received, controlling how others construct their texts. Individuals are accustomed to reading texts accompanied with image and sounds in the digital (Di Rosario , 2011). The hours spent online illustrates poetry is meant to be more than printed concept incorporate visual, gestural, and aural components that are readily accessible online. The supplementation and complementation of new digital to the reading, writing, representation, and understanding of poetry will foster an exploration of the relationship between text and image. Sound and pictures are fundamental in the meditation of meaning.

The new forms of poetry emerging from the interactions of informatics and poetry, which are collectively known as digital poetry. E-poetry encompasses different approaches based on the critical use of computers and other digital devices. New media has facilitated the reshaping of writing space and reading time; it has allowed the inclusion of sounds and images in graphic text, hence allowing the version to be both reactive and interactive.

Positive Effects of New Media on Poetry

New media provides an immersive and performativity prospect that encourages the readers of a poem to get the core of the poem to understand it. Digital poetry promotes animation and dimensionality language. Unlike the traditionally published verses, digital poetry possesses memory, flocking, kinematics, and responsiveness to touch. New media allows poetry to be more than semantic. It facilitates audibility, imagistic, and interactive workings, which are vital in promoting the understanding of poetry (Brito, 2014). Mainstream has influenced the recent resurgence in performance of, which is currently attributed to popularity of new media and its extensive devices that affect real-time discourse between the performer and the audience. New media provides an opportunity for poetry to be performed - a concept that was not common amongst the traditional poets. Performance breathes life in contemporary poetry. Visual images and annotations can accompany a poem. Performance provides an avenue for exploration and understanding rather than the traditional perception of poetry as a rehearsed and delivered content.

The contemporary society is already immersed in new media; hence, the question is related on how to maximize technology to attain all the benefits poetry has afforded previous generations. Poems in the form of song lyrics have withstood the test of time since the Stone Age. In the last five decades, some of the most significant versions of poetry reside in songs and recordings of famous entertainers. New media has provided one of the most massive stages for song lyrics poetry (Mereu, 2017). The words of folk, country, hip-hop, blues artists is easily accessible on various media platforms and applications such as YouTube and iTunes. The works of many artists are influential to the social discourse as they describe different themes that are common in the modern society. The lyric application of poetry in contemporary entertainment, which is not only universal, but also socially informed with immutable fluid, may indeed foster the survival of poetry for many more centuries.

Just as the visual aspect of poetry in new media provides an extension of poetic themes to images, node poems utilize the interactive online platform to make readers and writers active in the exploration and construction of poetry. Like the synthetic poetry, nude poetry focuses on new poetry content that is free from the traditional forms. It fosters innovation by allowing writers to form lines of poetry into tree-like structures with the first line of the trunk and the subsequent the stem and the other parts of the tree. Readers analyze each branch and twig through comparisons and cross connections (Lage, 2013). New media has transformed poetry from the traditional static poems that required movement down a page full of stanzas and lines to the contemporary poetry.

Node poems allow individuals to take control irrespective of location of how poems are developed and how flow is achieved. As mentioned, poetry affords readers the opportunity to analyze and probe intellectually thought-provoking language. Node poetry gives readers the ability to control the core of poems, the building block of both traditional and modern poetry, and the language itself. Node poems employ the SpicyNodes interface. The SpicyNodes is developed by a research group at idea.org and allows free use of any individual interested. Node poems invite the readers to analyze specific sections of the poem by applying a graphic representation.

In recent years, synthetic poetry has been combined with technology to help readers view language and consciousness in novel ways. Artificial poetry involves dedication and questioning of material used in the analysis of poetry. In the past centuries, poets have been engaged in formal norms such as modifying sonnet to suit the specifications of their workings (Mereu, 2017). At the dawn of the XX century, synthetic poets began to focus on ways that could generate fresh and innovative content. In recent years, synthetic poets have invested in various ways that could increase the current standing of poetry to other new and unexplored directions. The current undertakings in synthetic poetry could overlap other forms of writing through effective combination of technology and the aesthetic nature of poetry.

New media provides an opportunity for students and other poem lovers to understand the profound meaning of a particular work. Many times, poetry expresses detailed and semantic life experiences using a few words. According to the situated learning theory, a student can easily understand a poem when visualizing an environment similar to what the poet describes (Hughes , 2007). New media provides an opportunity for the student to browse the content of the poem together with its other multimedia resources. The continuous evolution of information technology influences accessibility of elaborately tailored concepts in a poem, including specific entity such as people and locations described in the poem. As much, new media provides resources that enable students to understand poems better. Through e-learning, students can embrace poetry.

Digital-stored literature occupies little space. Hence, there are very few limits to how much poetry can be stored. Individuals can maintain appropriate storage facilities facilitating the access of their favorite works for long periods of time. Digital storage promotes writings since individuals are assured of storage of information.

New media allows individuals to publish their workers online. The world is a pluralistic society, with millions of increasing ethnically individuals who showcase a desire to be heard. New media provides the platform for these individuals to present their experiences and inspirations in the form of poetry (Lage, 2013). If the world is to achieve the democracy it desires, it is in its fundamental objectives for every voice to be heard, whether through synthetic poetry, lyric poetry or code poetry. The concept of flawed work on the internet provides an opportunity for others to learn from the mistakes of their peers. While the erroneous work may be considered to drown the voice of experts, they offer insight on what quality poetry should include.

Code poetry is another form of poetry that owes its existence to new media. The code is the language used as a form of communication in computers. It has different rules and meanings that fosters its functionality. Code poetry means different things depending on an individual. It encompasses a piece of text that can be read as code or installed and ran on the computer and other software devices as a program. Code poetry is a combination of human language poetry with other mathematical elements and codes in it. Similarly, code poetry may mean using codes in poetry for elegance within extreme domains such as haiku. Code poetry may also mean code that generates automatic poetry. There are different kinds of code poetry, but most types are characterized by cyborg binary coding, which allows them to be readable by humans and computers alike (Brito, 2014). Other forms include computer code that is expressed poetically while manipulating new media sound, terseness, and beauty.

Code poetry differs from different types of digital media since it employs computer software. While digital poetry makes use of new media, they mainly use the computer’s hardware. In recent years, some events and websites provide the general public the opportunity to present, compete, and publish code. The Stanford University Code Poetry Slam is among the most famous code poetry competition in the USA. The competition allows individuals to showcase their innovations and creativity in poetry (Lage, 2013). Currently, the competitors have illustrated it is possible to incorporate oral presentation and computer code. Some individuals maintain the act of writing poetry and writing code are oddly similar, especially to individuals who have participated in both. They hold coding is a creative act just like poetry.

Like the classical poets, coders have their styles, including tactics to maximize the code being read by a computer through facilitating understanding by accompanying code with visuals and interpretations and comments from other coders. Code poetry has potential to expand its current outreach in the society since computer code can speak literature, logic, and mathematics. The computer communication has different levels of abstraction connected to physical components of the computer including memory chips. All the resources associated with code provide an opportunity to expand the boundaries of contemporary poetry.

In addition to code poetry competition, Netspeak is another practical example of the digitalization of wordplay and poetry at large. It illustrates the emergence of words and sentences that are associated with the internet. Netspeak include several abbreviations and other words related to new technology that designate screen areas and other functions for the purpose of executing the user commands. These words have achieved a permanent presence, contributing to the vocabulary that can be used in modern poetry.

Adverse Effects of New Media on Poetry

Despite the advantages that new media has accorded poetry and other genres of literature, some critics believe new media has altered the very notion on which poetry was built. New media has ensured democratization of art. Any individual can post their work online by merely opening a poetry blog. The contemporary press is based on the notion that an individual needs to be seen or heard. In the early years, the realm of poetry having one’s recognized through publication was the hallmark of quality and distinction. Currently, aspiring fiction writers and poets no longer have to queue in prominent journals and presses awaiting the acknowledgment of their manuscripts.

New media has allowed all writers to access a worldwide audience of readers. Critics caution the distinction between author and the public is about to lose its core meaning. At the dawn of the XX century, the longstanding proportion of writers to readers exploded, ending the times when a few authors wrote for large audiences (Hughes , 2007). New media has prompted many readers to aspire and take actions to become writers, while this presents a large pool of talent many write not because they believe in the greatness of their writing, but because they seek to be heard and seen. The Internet presents viewers approval or disdain with no quality analysis from editors. An individual does not require to work hard; no one bothers to use quality research materials or even studied and graduated from the university to be a poet. As such, there is no longer the need to illustrate demonstrable skills for there is no one the individual needs to prove their capabilities. Literary quality is now founded on polytechnic rather than core training and research that drove poetry in the early centuries (Hughes , 2007). The only prerequisite for publishing online is having access to the internet. As such, sorting through the authentic works presents considerable difficulties. On the Internet, some uninformed individuals simply write to shoulder the well-skilled and the talent. Flawed work reduces the recognition accorded to quality work hence resulting in loss of quality.

The Internet is an avenue for individuals to be seen and heard, the egalitarian freedom has led to chaos. Digitalized media consider every individual an equal writer and reader. Human craves to be seen and heard to confirm their worth. Moreover, when an individual deems their real-life insufficient, they create another personality online that is different from their core values and believes. The resultant effect of many fake characters is poetry that is not genuine. Many individuals engage in self-fabricated alter egos online that they build an entirely different person reducing the validity of literature. The current mass media does not adequately distinguish between genuine and fake or levels of expertise and professionalism.

Moreover, new media has emphasized visual more than wordplay that is the core of poetry. Visual overshadows aesthetic, intellectual, and emotional aspects of poetry. Video tends to duplicate the view the human eye desires hence the society ends up trusting the camera rather than intellect. However, poetry is a genre of literature where that involves word plays and affords as its unique aesthetic. New media reduces the characteristics of ancient poetry by reshaping it to the nature of the current society.

Future Implications of New Media on Poetry

The future of poetry in this digital age depends primarily on an individual’s perception of the advantages and disadvantages of new media. The contemporary society has embraced technology, and it is no longer the question of whether new media should be discarded to uphold the ancient attributes of poetry. The pros new media accords to poetry overshadow its cons, hence illustrating the growth and expansion of poetry in this new age. According to critics of digital poetry, the last one and half centuries have seen poetry give way to novel and novel being overtaken by film. For instance, in the USA, the possibility of finding an individual who can quote William Wadsworth is limited, yet Wadsworth was among America’s most famous poets of his time (Brito, 2014). Many poetics question whether poetry does need or benefit from the broad public saturation that new media provides.

However, irrespective of opinions new media will continue to provide an avenue for innovations in poetry. Spoken word and slam poets have achieved broader audiences and social relevance in the past decades and might continue to do so since they welcome technological advancements of both video and audio. For instance, the slam movement in the USA is increasingly gaining international recognition through the tools that new media provide. In several websites such as poetry daily and verse daily, readers and poets alike are given an avenue that illustrates the original print-based system.

Conventional Differences between Traditional and Digital Poetry

The significant differences between traditional and digitalized poetry are related to the style of writing, means of transmission, audience, and archives. Classical poetry was presented in expected formats such as sonnets or villanelles. The poems would follow specially designated meters and rhyme schemes. However, modern poetry is not limited to particular format or forms or even size and space. Digital poets mainly focus on free verse and often seek social relevancy. Digital poetry is imagist in nature, unlike the traditional poetry that was predominantly abstract and impressionistic. Modern poetry employs the use of sound and visual manipulations that were not common in the past centuries. Since the dawn of the XX century, even before the birth of new media, poets began to incorporate specific visuals in printed media that fostered understanding.

In the current society, almost all forms of poetry are accompanied by images and videos that are fundamental in discerning the meaning of the poem. In the early centuries, the primary type of storage was through oral narration and recitation. It was based on this shortcoming that the repetitive and short forms associated with poetry were born. When literacy began, poems were stored in print. However, only poems that the editors and poetics considered to be quality work was published, printed and distributed. New media allows the storage of all documents since the systems are designed to manage vast quantities of information. Moreover, new media has expanded the audience for poetry. Poets across the globe get recognition of a prospective global audience irrespective of the quality of their work. The audience of poetry has increased tremendously in the past several decades due to the opportunities new media provides.


New media has positively influenced the developmental of poetry since more than three thousand poetry books are printed each year, several literary journals thrive both in print and online and thousands of poets make the use of YouTube, Facebook, and other social media applications to share their works. Public appraisal for poetry continues to flourish in the current ethnically diverse society due to new media that provides an avenue for different individuals to share their experiences and opinions through poetry. Statistics indicate the populace majority have embraced the rebirth of literature and its associated genres since overall reading rates have been increasing in plurality societies such as the USA. According to the NEAs periodic survey of the American reading habits, reading rates have been growing in the past decade compared to earlier decades.

Poetry is based on voice and performance, and new media provides techniques that embody and convey both to the extent that it is reshaping the aura of performativity. The curious nature of the human brain indicates consistent changes brought by experiences and practices and inspire innovation. It is unrealistic for the society to expect structural changes in different spectrums, but the maintenance of attributes held by ancient poetry. As the community progresses in other domains so does digital poetry. In a few years, e-poetry will achieve a sophistication that values both attributes of poetry and digitalization.


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Hughes , J. (2007). Poetry: A powerful medium for literacy and technology development . The literacy and Numeracy secretariat in Ontario , 1-4.

Lage, M. (2013, December 27). First Stanford Poetry slam reveals the litearary side of compture code. Retrieved from Stanford University News: https://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/december/code-poetry-slam-122013.html

Mereu, D. (2017). Oral poetry in traditional and new media. Philomisca online , 138-161.

Morris , A., & Swiss , T. (2006). New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories . London : MIT press .

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