A Review of Twelve Blue

Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce is an interesting look at poetry explored through technology. He uses a simple HTML interface with a left frame or rather what seems to be simple at first glance which is actually an involved navigation. Joyce’s use of HTML, colour, pictures, and frames was unique and ambitious for it’s time. I spent an hour or so finding my way around his page. I primarily used the links found in each page of storyline to navigate my way through his work. This however was not the way to go about it if you wanted to experience the surprising story he is telling from twelve different perspectives.

To navigate this story where I had a better sense of what was going on was to watch his picture. A simple blue background with twelve long threads as he describes them to be. Each represents a person’s story and perspective on the story as a whole. When you start off at page one for everyone you read a simple internal dialogue of a girl in present day and in her past at a carnival. If you follow the top thread on the left hand side of the page you eventually come to realize this is Lisle’s story. I then did the same for the following 12 characters.

When read in unison this way the story comes together about new love, unhappy children, a drowning boy, and some pretty unsavoury people. Lisle is our starting thread she is a virologist with a daughter named Samantha and is in love with a doctor Javier. Javier is the next story line, he is a doctor who was once married to Aurelie and has a daughter named Beth. Javier is a wealthy but mostly un-liked man in the story.  The next thread belongs to an Eleanor, alumni from brown. She once had a baby with Javier but the baby passed away. Now she lives a simple life with Ed Stanko as her landlord with whom she trades herself for rent.  Thread four refers to a very terrible character named Ed Stanko. He is the type of man to take advantage of anyone and anything he can. He has triple charged Javier for the use of a painting and has slept with a tenant for her rent. In total there are twelve characters that make up our story and each has a long and sad or emotional tale to tell in this virtual piece of art.

I would recommend a guided reading of this story.  Once one can get a hang of the interface this story begins to make sense and even then I found it best when I watched the naming of the pages I visited. Joyce has created an awesome story with each piece and the way he chose to display it in a way split this story up into interesting and poetic fragments.  This medium has inspired me to do something like this for my own projects and writing. I know how to manipulate code to do some interesting things and could easily use this template type for my further work.

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