"Wired" by James W. Johnson from Poems That Go (2001)

Day 19 Flash Poetry

Flash Poetry is the most common type of animated poetry,and uses Macromedia's Flash to animate words and images. If you do not have the free Flash Player, you will need to download it. The same effect can be created using PowerPoint to create a presentation, iPhoto to create a slideshow, or iMovie to create a QuickTime clip (like the example above).

Some authorities credit Felix Jung with inventing the format as a graduate student. He has created some of the best known examples, including the pantoum, "Miss Charlotte Brown, Librarian, Goes Mad" (below). His Flash poems are featured on his website, Synesthesia. Once you enter, be sure to explore the Gallery and Archives.


Miss Charlotte Brown, Librarian, Goes Mad
by Felix Jung


Just hit refresh or reload on your browser to start thepoem again. If you cannot see this poem playing above, try this link.

Poems That Go is a substantial online anthology that provides examples and links. The site explores the intersections between motion, sound, image, text, and code. The site contends that it "explores how language is shaped in new media spaces, how interactivity can change the meaning of a sign, how an image can conflict with a sound, and how code exerts machine-order on a text." Certainly worth a listen and look... Make sure you explore the archives. A favorite poem on this site is "The Last Day of Betty Nkomo." Also, check out "Car Wash" and "While Chopping Red Peppers" from 2000.

Many people would consider Ye Li's Flash dramatization of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" a different media from the original text or song.

Another odd multi-media creation is Guinea Pig Theater.


Other Flash Sites and Journals:


Individual Poems:


Your Turn: Select a poem from any of the Flash sites mentioned above and write an analysis discussing how the use of Flash (sound and images) affects the poem. In other words, how is the simple text of the poem changed by the addition of animation.

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