Topic Proposal

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For my Individual Project, I would like to produce an electronic book that will serve as the prototype for future works that have the potential to reinvigorate the age-old tradition of the chapbook. To do this I propose that the chap book be tailored to the art form of spoken word poetry so that the performance, crowd participation, and literary aspects of this art form are properly highlighted in a textual product. I think that the best way to accomplish this would involve placing the literary, or print version, of an artist’s poem side-by-side with the performance version of the piece. With the implementation of video within an e-book, this can easily be done, and both versions can be juxtaposed on a two-page spread for the simultaneous viewing pleasure of the reader. This is, however, only one of the ways in which I propose to enhance the chapbook for spoken word artists.

The second of my proposed enhancements involves what is known as a poetry slam. This is a competitive event where spoken word artists vie for the title of best poet. One interesting thing about these slams is that the judges who will rate each performance are randomly chosen from the crowd before the festivities begin. Each of the selected judges is asked to rate each performance based on a ten point scale that includes tenths of a point (for instance, a judge may rate a poem as a 9.4). Five judges are selected in total, and after they give their ratings, the highest and lowest of the scores is voided, leaving only the middle three scores to be added up for the poet’s total score. As to my proposal, I think it would be great to add an interactive element to chapbooks by including a “you be the judge” section for each piece in the book where the reader can participate as a judge by rating each performance themselves. The book would be constructed so that their scores are tallied both separately and added into the fray of the other judges’ scores so that by the end of the book they are taken to a page showing them how they might have affected the outcome of the slam had they been a judge there and giving them a since of who their favorite poet in the slam was based on their individual scores.

I think a production is both feasible and full of potential, and I am very interested to see what type of prototype I might be able to develop. If successful, this project could lead to the production of many future books of this type.



laura8's picture

I think there could be a lot

I think there could be a lot of difficulties with the video production aspect of this (live productions never go as planned...) but I think this could be a very cool idea. In regards to your first enhancement, I think you should make sure that the video would be optional and the reader would be able to decide when or if to view it. Some people might like to read and listen/watch at the same time but others might rather read it before or after watching the video.

Also, if this would be possible, I think it would be cool if while the video was playing it highlighted the word or line on the adjacent page. That way if you did want to read along, you wouldn't fall out of pace with the poet. I don't know if this is at all feasible but if it is, it might be something interesting to include.

Mr. F's picture

The interactive aspect of

The interactive aspect of this chapbook sounds like it would be very cool-- it is potentially a "living" text which perhaps organizes poets by their ranking and which can introduce new poets over time, or have separate sections for each individual competition so that it forms an archive of the book's evolution. Enabling users to rate/comment/share would lend the book a cool social dynamic.

I think you're right, the

I think you're right, the actual video production does pose a very real challenge here. Luckily, for a performance of this kind there are only a few angles that are necessary to capture to create a pretty good final product. I am a bit nervous about this aspect of the project, but Im hoping that with careful planning I can create something fairly decent. Again, I want to use this as a sort of prototype for future chapbook productions, so I'm hoping the experience will better highlight some of the major difficulties of this aspect.

Also, I do think that the highlighting of the words as the performance moves along is definitely feasible and a great idea. Of course, I do intend to give the reader the option of starting and stopping the video whenever they choose with the text always readily available. Thanks for the input!

I think the idea of having

I think the idea of having poets performances side-by-side with the poems words is a great because the delivery is what makes the words matter. Otherwise it is like reading lyrics to a song without hearing it sung. I do however have a suggestion for the judging aspect. I think that instead of the ratings being confined to the individuals tablet, that you could allow the ratings to be shared and gathered from all of the readers. Almost like a book club discusses books on a monthly or weekly basis, there could be a selection of performances each week that could be downloaded and voted upon to declare a winner. This would encourage poets to share their pieces with a national audience providing you with more and more content.