Research and Teaching

My teaching and writing have most recently focused on "New Media" literature and its relationship to image and sound. I'm interested in the interplay of digital texts, the institutions that support and promote them, and the emerging audiences that respond to them. I'm also interested in and write about poetry and the rhetoric of popular music criticism.

I'm always delighted to work with students on writing and research projects in areas where I might have some experience or expertise. Over the next few years, I'll be teaching courses on Digital Rhetoric, Multimedia Writing, The Rhetoric of Popular Music, and The Language of Conceptual Art.

I share an appointment with the the University of Iowa's Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry (POROI) and I'm the editor of TIR Web.

My most recent books include Unspun (NYU Press), an edited volume that explores concepts that help shape our understanding of the World Wide Web and its wide-ranging influence on contemporary culture; a collection of poems, Rough Cut (U. Illinois); and a co-edited collection of essays on the topic of popular music, Mapping the Beat (Blackwell).


To hear the critics tell it, one problem with emergent digital literary and
art forms is that they don't yet have established stars.  Where's our Shakespeare of the Screen?  Our Pixel Picasso?  How long before we have a Digital DeMille? The assumption is that we'll have them eventually -- undisputed geniuses working in what is now generally called "New Media."  But behind this assumption is another assumption, one with a long, sometimes thorny history - that the "best" or "most important" art is created by an individual, a single pair of hands in the study or studio.

As a poet, I began my own collaborative, Web-based work with visual and sound artists several years ago - with a sense that the opportunities and demands of Web-based poetry, like many other New Media practices, have their roots in the shared notion of community that was integral to the development of internet. I was also increasingly interested in what Hal Foster calls "the twin obsessions of the neo-avant garde": temporality and textuality.   Web-based poems -- especially those involving links, animation, and attention to the pictoral elements of writing -- suggest novel approaches to thinking about time and the text.

Collaborative work redefines artistic labor in what is for me new and complicated ways: what is the relationship, for example, between my language and the images and sounds others create, even if under my "direction"?  How do the images and sound "change" the meaning of the language (and vice versa) and in what ways can the piece be said to still be a "poem"?  Collaboration allows writers and artists -- like myself and those I compose with -- to reconsider both our work and our identities, to literally see them anew, as we move from individual to composite subjectivity.