of the mission statement here at the Vrzhu Research Bureau (a wholly
imaginary subsidiary of Vrzhu Press) is to “research, develop, market
and promulgate products, techniques and technologies that will increase
poetry’s share of the public’s attention, and expand poetic awareness
Recent results of surveys, covert psychological testing, probability and stochastic analysis, and observation have further refined some of our previous findings on why poetry fails to reaches a larger target audience, and what the obstacles are to a wider diffusion of poetic awareness in specific demographics.
To put it in layman’s terms, a large part of the problem with poetry’s lack of market share and popularity is its appearance. In an increasingly visualified world, modes of communication must maximize their retinal impact to be effective and to spread. Poetry is woefully lacking in this area. Horizontal lines of symbols, uniformly black, distributed in rudimental groupings on a white matrix is pretty much the nadir of visual interest. Even when poetry has tried to foreground the visual aspects of its art (so called concrete poetry) the results have almost entirely been about as stimulating as looking at, well, concrete. Some of these attempts are even easily misconstrued as formal errors: misspelling, scribbling, etc.
Unfortunately, real progress won’t be made in this area until some or all of poetry’s essential elements can be radically transformed and recontextualized into mandatory, stimulating visual apparatus.
But the current situation is far from hopeless.
It’s possible to up poetry’s pizzazz quotient through linkages with purely visual information. Though detachable from the essential poemness of the poem, these visual quanta can enter into a dialectic with the poem-content and attach to the basic experience of the poem as it enters consciousness.
This is nothing new. But up until now these efforts were less than rigorous and left up to chance, and--worse--to the whims of “creative” types, artists, writers, collaborators.
But we here at the VRB are taking the first small next step in the evolution of poetry enhancement. Using algorithms developed from the data we’ve collected, the VRB has constructed several prototypes of a Poetic-Retinal Integrator.
When perfected the PRI will seamlessly interweave textual and highly stimulating visual elements into a poem that will grab and hold the attention of almost anyone, no matter how eye-jaded.
But talk is cheap. To give you an idea of what the future may hold, we present an example of one of our early envisualed poems. Remember this a “1.0” version of a manufacturing technique undergoing continuous refinement. But we believe we’re headed in one of the right possible directions.
The Darkling Thrush
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
At once a voice arose among
So little cause for carolings