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Poetry and IF
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Poetry isn't something I have much of a taste for. One character in the new John the Eunuch novel is a self-styled poet, who wallows in his own morbid sensitivities. While I realize that sort of thing isn't necessarily what poetry is supposed to be about, too often, that's what it is. Check out a few poetry sites on the web!

However, I recently looked up Robert Pinsky, a former poet laureate of the United States and was impressed with Shirt . Judging from my experiences in college lit classes, I'm sure I don't grasp most of what's intended, but I like the way this shirt, described in minute, mundane detail manages as well to bring to mind the whole history of the textile industry, including the disastrous Triangle Factory fire, present day sweatshops overseas, a whole cast of characters from mill owners, to shirt inspectors, Asian workers, even a tragic doomed couple. Pretty cool.

Interestingly Pinksy wrote an interactive fiction game in 1986 called Mindwheel. I haven't played it -- doesn't seem to download right for me -- but I can see how there could be a connection with a poem like "Shirt" and interactive fiction (IF) which depends, more than "regular" fiction, on the player/reader gleaning information from close observation of objects and surroundings, character interaction being much more difficult to program or fit into a game format than interaction with inanimate things. The earliest text adventures were cave crawls where one explored caverns in search of treasures.

I placed a very small bit of IF, called The Thorn, on my website recently. While very rudimentary, it gives a vague idea of what IF is about without the necessity of downloading anything.

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