Poetry and NFTs: a new Cyber-culture?
NFT Poetry, like other NFT art forms, sets its own definitions. Unlike the iambic pentameter experienced (or endured) in high school, NFT Poetry offers much less rigidity while integrating existing traditions with 21st-century Crypto-verse. The ways in which NFT Poetry asserts its newness, its freshness, set it against and within long-standing poetic traditions that look likely to be a lasting artistic expression for years to come.
This project features poets from around the world who blend and bend the genre in the service of NFT poetry. Ana Maria Caballero, Sasha Stiles, and Kalen Iwamoto initiated theVERSEverse to achieve a three-fold mission:
- Onboard traditional poets and pair their verses with the work of crypto artists to create immersive multigenre works
- Amplify, translate, and encourage poets new to crypto
- And highlight text-based artists already active in the crypto space.
As if that wasn’t enough, theVERSEverse extend and enrich their collaborations through generative AI. Their GenText series demonstrates how AI can catalyze new possibilities by fusing — and even exploding — social, poetic, and technological codes.
LOST POETS from Pak
The LOST POETS project offered by renowned NFT artist Pak might seem as inscrutable as any modernist poem at first. On further investigation, Pak’s project contains its own myth and is a game to boot! The myth-making is achieved by somewhat cryptic language combined with a gradual rollout of features for buyers.
Much like a rhapsodie reciting Homer centuries ago, the exact telling comes in real-time: while we have some idea of where the story might go while it’s being told, the poet and the audience both decide the ultimate meanings after the moment the poem concludes.
The audience who’ve bought a LOST POETS NFT poem share in the creation of those meanings through direct participation without mediation from publishers, stores, or external agents.
NFT Seed Poetry
Katherine Dozier Moshman, who operates The NFT Poetry Gallery, began a series of NFT seed poems. If the word ‘seed’ jangles something in the memory, think of the seed phrases that unlock your Crypto Wallet. The author-artist crafts bespoke poems that feature her photography in collaboration with buyers.
Note how multiple genres work together harmoniously within the NFT medium: the concept of the found poem (merges with photography, and these latter two fields entwine through artist-audience dialogue. This is one of the great strengths of NFT Poetry: it tends to bring poets and audiences closer within a more active relationship.
Whereas a reader might partake in poetry passively by buying a book at a traditional shop, an NFT Poetry buyer can elevate and personalize their participation in direct conversation with creators. NFT Poetry frees, connects, and equalizes poet-audience relations.
NFT Trash Art Poetry
A lighter side to NFT Poetry also exists. NFT Poets within the trash art scene mock broad social trends and events, including the NFT medium itself and poetry. The multi-genre approach to composition parallels that of LOSTPOETS and the works of Moshman, only these artists laugh at themselves, their rhymes, and their satire of poetry by Shel Silverstein while on a break from beer pong.
Colors pop in weird, jolting neons which pair with wonky fonts that would garner a talk from the boss. The poetry nestled in the mire kicks out against routines like taking out the garbage as much as COVID. Poetry’s an intensely personal genre, ask a handful of people and many of them will express strong feelings for or against it.
What NFT reintroduces is the liveliness of early poetry where the audience and poet could be in the same neighborhood, public space, or even room. Being together and creating together remain part of our shared humanity. NFT Poetry brings this closer to ourselves.