Journal article Open Access

Collapsing Generation and Reception: Holes as Electronic Literary Impermanence

Allen, Graham; O'Sullivan, James

This essay discusses Holes, a ten syllable one-line-per-day work of digital poetry that is written by Graham Allen, and published by James O’Sullivan’s New Binary Press. The authors, through their involvement with the piece, explore how such iterative works challenge literary notions of fixity. Using Holes as representative of “organic” database literature, the play between electronic literature, origins, autobiography, and the edition are explored. A description of Holes is provided for the benefit of readers, before the literary consequences of such works are examined, using deconstruction as the critical framework. After the initial outline of the poem, the discussion is largely centred around Derrida’s deconstruction of “the centre”. Finally, the literary database as art is re-evaluated, drawing parallels between e-lit, the absence of the centre, and the idea of the “deconstructive poem”.

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