Literature & Poetry
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Literature & Poetry
The beauty of the written word enhanced by a tangible connection to makers -- those who use the creative potential of handmade works to push the boundaries of conventional art forms
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The Reading Games

The Reading Games | Literature & Poetry |

So, what will it take to get kids to read these days? Oxford University Press has a hankering that the answer lies in games.


The publishing company, which is the largest university press in the world, recently announced its partnership with SecretBuilders, a mobile online game developer that will do the technical work behind the gamification of classical literature for a younger audience. Aimed at the under-15 crowd, SecretBuilders plans to present fictional characters and detailed storylines digitally, giving children the opportunity to engage with the plot on their tablets and smart phones. 


The project is part of the "50 Great Reads Before 15" campaign launched by Oxford University Press. Among the selected works are such time-honored classics as: Macbeth, Don Quixote, and Pride and Prejudice. SecretBuilders CEO Umair Khan explains that incorporating the latest and most viral technology in the effort will "ensure that children associate reading with fun so that their literary journey begins even before they can read their first page and continues long thereafter." The existing "gameworld" of SecretBuilders encompasses an online community of 7 million users, who each week interact with a work of classic literature through contests, missions, themed parties, and virtual talk shows that bring the characters and their worlds to life for young readers. Oxford University Press has sponsored "The Bookworms Club" within this gameworld to provide a base context for virtual activities relating to the books featured as part of the partnership. 


In addition to the weekly spotlighted title, each month SecretBuilders will release a new mobile game that will be available across the gamut of app stores, including GooglePlay, iTunes, and Blackberry AppWorld. The first of these games is forthcoming for Nook and Kindle devices and will lead readers through Alice in Wonderland through a game that prompts them to find differences between images.


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Alt-Minds: Making "Transmedia” a Reality - IGN

Alt-Minds: Making "Transmedia” a Reality - IGN | Literature & Poetry |

It's no secret that transmedia storytelling has become intriguingly immersive during its brief but turbulent lifespan. But what exactly is a transmedia "game", and how does it fit into this rapidly evolving field? The French developer Lexis Numerique and telecommunications operator Orange are finding out with Alt-Minds, a game that deems itself "the very first total fiction." Part TV-show, part mobile app, and part mystery novel; accessible from your computer, phone, or tablet; and playable through web-based social media platforms, Alt-Minds will consist of eight episodes released once per week for two months. The first episode of the "interactive and participative story told in real time" will be free and released in November 2012.


The technological basis for the game will be a PC/tablet application that is stylistically modeled after Facebook. Upon download, the week's mission will be revealed to the user via the mimicked "news feed" feature. In order to progress to the next level, players will need to glean information from legitimate and in-game Facebook profiles, receive clues from text messages and calls from the game's characters, and trace their steps using Google Maps. Djamil Kemal, marketing and business development director for Lexis Numerique, explained to IGN that add-ons to the regular game can earn users extra points: "For example, the most involved players can use geolocalisation, where you go to a specific place and check it out with your phone.” Alt-Minds is Europe-based, but this element will be modified to account for the location of foreign players.


As for the plot of the game itself, it will certainly appeal to crime-show addicts and mystery buffs. The story revolves around a group of five scientific researchers from the University of Belgrade who disappear mysteriously in the Ukraine. The clandestine foundation to which the researchers are tied launches its own private investigation, calling on internet users to aid in its quest--and the user is one of those enlisted. The player will be provided pieces of information through video and personal messages and delegated tasks by fictional team members to aid in the recovery mission. Though designed to be a one-player game, users can collaborate and share clues with real-world friends and can receive optional additional codes from participation in geolocalisation assignments.


Get a taste for the immersion experience Alt-Minds will provide to its players by checking out its trailer on IGN:

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The Status of Storytelling - The Yorker

The Status of Storytelling - The Yorker | Literature & Poetry |

An eloquent piece on where storytelling stands as an art form and necessary practice in today's day and age, and its transition into the modern era:


"The mistaken temptation with storytelling is to classify it as a sort of low-level children’s drama performance; a sort of minimal monologue. However, the two art forms are entirely different, and require different skills from their audiences.


"The role of storytellers in society has always been respected across history. From African griots and Irish seanchaí right up until the early 20th century, in the small superstitious communities, where people would still gather at the house of the storyteller and sit at his feet in front of the fire to listen to the old folk-tales. Which is wonderful, really, when you think about it. Totally free entertainment with some ale and all your mates. Think Canterbury Tales."

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Ford Introduces All-New Fusion with Groundbreaking Transmedia Campaign - MarketWatch

Ford has collaborated with transmedia storytelling leader 42 Entertainment and partnered with radio and television personality Ryan Seacrest to introduce its all-new Ford Fusion through a multifaceted transmedia promotional campaign, "Random Acts of Fusion", which will run through the debut of the Fusion in late October.


Says Jim Farley, Ford group VP of Marketing, Sales & Service: "We are taking a completely unique approach to introduce the new Fusion with a transmedia program, launching this transformational vehicle that over-delivers with its distinctive blend of style, intelligence and technology . . . Combining social media, entertainment and unexpected consumer experiences will allow us to connect with audiences through every type of media, making Fusion's profile larger than ever."


The "Random Acts of Fusion" campaign will feature several celebrities throughout its cross-country run, designed to introduce the Fusion to consumers before it hits showrooms this fall. The program will unravel over the course of several months through a story arc created via interactive media channels, including radio, broadcast, and social networks. As a result, its title is not intended to be entirely clear from the start, as consumers will gain a better understanding of the name and its relation to the car as they "unlock" elements of the Fusion's transformative story through these channels.


A more personal aspect of the campaign involves Ford's plan to loan 100 of the new Fusions for a short period of time to 1,000 people, selected based on submissions of personal stories. These participants may follow the lead of past Ford "influencers" who blogged about their experiences and became brand ambassadors prior to the debut of the 2010 Fiesta. The Fusion's launch campaign involves several more platforms than its precedent, and kicked off just last week with a video featuring instructions from Seacrest. The video must reach the 1,000 view mark before progressing to the next level of the story, and a series of codes allows viewers to participate in some way at each step.


To get a jump start at putting the story together, you can visit the Ford Fusion on Facebook at and view Seacrest's first video and follow the campaign on Twitter via the #RandomActs hashtag.

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Transmedia Storytelling, Fan Culture and the Future of Marketing - Knowledge@Wharton

Transmedia Storytelling, Fan Culture and the Future of Marketing - Knowledge@Wharton | Literature & Poetry |

"Our current multi-channel, multi-screen, "always on" world is giving rise to a new form of storytelling, dubbed "transmedia," that unfolds a narrative across multiple media channels. A single story may present some elements through a television series or a motion picture with additional narrative threads explored in comic books, video games or a collection of websites and Twitter feeds. Depending on their level of interest, fans can engage in selection of these story elements or follow all of them to fully immerse themselves in the world of the story."


Free-lance transmedia author Andrea Phillips has been immersing herself in this world for the past decade. This article from Knowledge@Wharton features a personal interview with her that touches on the most effective transmedia narration techniques and consumer response to the emerging media form.

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Redefining poetry in a brave new mobile age - TG Daily

Concordia University professor Jason Lewis oversees the Poems for Excitale [Mobile] Media (P.o.E.M.M.) project, in which poems are written and designed for viewing on touch-screen devises and specially formatted mobile apps.


He explains: "Poetry is an intimate medium but when it comes to digital poetry, the computer screen creates distance between writer and reader. Touch screens allow the audience to be drawn into a closer proximity to the computer screen than ever before."


At present the P.o.E.M.M. project includes four apps: What They Speak When They Speak To Me, Buzz Aldrin Doesn't Know Any Better, The Great Migration, and Smooth Second Bastard. Each app is designed around Lewis' own poetry, then extended to include texts by other poets. The apps are released individually as iTunes downloads and allow readers to interact with the text of the poems. In forthcoming versions, users will be offered "the chance to add their own words, use Twitter feeds to generate new strands of poetry, and to play with words, design and structure to generate original poems that can be rewritten at the tap of a screen."


The P.o.E.M.M. porject has recently been awarded the Jury Award for the Electronic Literature Organization's annual exhibition.

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Amazing Surreal Artworks by Igor Morski - My Modern Metropolis

Amazing Surreal Artworks by Igor Morski - My Modern Metropolis | Literature & Poetry |

Polish illustrator Igor Morski creates incredible, visually stimulating surrealist pieces that strike viewers for their detail, depth, and unique ability to present what have the potential to be various rich plotlines, all wrapped into one unified image. The featured print evokes a sense of confusion and pain, recalling the darkly vivid imagery of the original poem “Head Injury” by Christopher Michel, which was published on in May 2012:


Head Injury


outside the Ascended Masters Temple, 198


I wake to a blue void

flecked with birds, clouds

smeared like spackle. My mouth

tastes metal. Cicadas somewhere

make strange rising noises, the

grubs, anchored in shade,

split along their backs. Grass

clippings prick my skin. My head

sticky with blood, I smell mildew,

willow tree pollen, tar. I sit up

at the far end of the parking lot

outside my father’s church

as chanting bursts from open

windows. His voice is in there

but I can’t pick it out. Cicadas.

My head throbs. I hear the sounds

they sing to make their hearts

split open, to let the light inside.


Christopher Michel has an MFA from Syracuse University, and he received a Fulbright in 2006 to translate poetry from the Republic of Georgia. His work has been published, among other places, in Anatomy & Etymology as well as Free Lunch, where it was nominated for a Pushcart prize. He currently lives in Brooklyn’s secret Chinatown, as a stay-at-home dad

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Transmedia Storytelling launches Conducttr mobile app - Screen International

Transmedia Storytelling launches Conducttr mobile app - Screen International | Literature & Poetry |

Conducttr Mobile, a mobile app launched by Transmedia Storyteller Ltd, will allow users to participate in transmedia entertainment from their mobile devices. The app is "a transmedia story authoring tool composed of a cloud-based network intelligence for narrative designers and an API for developers" and it completes Transmedia Storyteller Ltd's goal to create a "storytelling ecosystem".


Explains CEO Robert Pratten: “We continue to lower the technical and cost barriers for transmedia storytellers who want to explore new ways of engaging audiences. For stories and experiences hosted by Conducttr in the cloud, the optional use of Conducttr Mobile provides audiences with heightened experience through familiar game-based mechanics such as unlocking exclusive content and gaining XP and achievements for engaging with the storyworld.” Stories written with the Conductrr system can be told through various social media, email, text, game, and/or ebook platform.

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Seven Core Concepts of Transmedia Storytelling

Seven Core Concepts of Transmedia Storytelling | Literature & Poetry |

Via Tina Stock
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Feb 8th


Up at 5 am to work on the new novel.  It shall be called "The Pargonopers." Bogged down in the party scene where Swami Argopian is to propose to Sydney.  The Swami stops from the scent of raspberries on the stairs and gazes out the window—only to be overwhelmed by the New Delhi of his youth.  Sydney, trying on socks in the pantry, awaits.


Feb 10th


Work continues on "Pargonopers."  I find sometimes in the white-heat of inspiration that the characters take on realities of their own that I am powerless to defy.  Swami Argopian has fallen on the stairs and broken his thigh.  Sydney meanwhile has gone to Bristol to exchange a tin of meat—what year, 1886?


Feb 12th


Disillusioned with "Pargonopers."  It all seems rather tosh now; just a scrumble of chimney pots.  Perhaps at a distance of ten years it would be revealed to me to be what exactly it was but I can't keep doing that, waiting ten years.  I simply feel it belongs too much to the mannerisms of my early period.  Oh well.  For every two books I start perhaps I'll only finish one, and then only under hypnosis.  Diane's broccoli and pork chops again for dinner tonight: chompy.


Feb 14th


Another day.  Spent the morning anxiously imagining the reviews of my now-abandoned "Pargonopers."  My love of beauty makes me too severe a critic of my own work.  Why do I torment myself!   I've been re-reading old letters all day.  How far I've drifted from Q.  And all because of his mother's withered leg. Is the fault mine?  Sic Transit Gloria Mundi. 


Feb 16th


Very excited.  Have plunged back into "The Pargonopers."  ("The measure of a good writer is how willing he is to return to the material."  Who said that—Kafka?  Joyce?  Beatrix Potter?  Must make a note to ask Diane.)  Rewrote it in the first person-plural, makes perfect sense.  I now have the entire structure in place.  Once Sydney's nephews perish in the flood, the book has virtually written itself.  Never has my "method" proved so useful and versatile.  I'm using every drop of my creative mind to finish it.  I must get my first impressions into it, my freshest reaction.  Don't think!  Anyone can think!  Diane says it might be my best book yet—but why?  Idea for a play: woman tells hunchbacked husband that his writing is improving—only to have an affair with his publisher. God, sometimes my brain threatens to split with all the meaning!


Feb 18th


The last words of "The Pargonopers" written not four minutes ago. Eighteen hundred handwritten pages in ten days, a new record.  Diane says eleven hundred thousand words.  What an amount of reªwriting that means!  And I've grown so fond of them.  How loathe will I be to part with them all: Dorcas, Sydney, Commander Busby, Dannny the Bellhop, Dr. Flugel, Fraulein Weinberg, and the Swami, the dear, dear Swami.  I shall always remember him as he lies there on the earthen floor, clutching his leg in a luminous haze of gaslight and moonbeams.  Sad that he must fall completely into the basement, but only in that way does he offset Sydney's thrombosis.  Well, the design is there.  My warp and woof, my ooze is there.  If I die tomorrow, these words at least remain.  Still very damp and cold.  Must remember to eat.


Feb 21st


Headaches all morning.  Very hungry.  Q. arrived this morning. Apparently he's been in Paris, his mother's operation a success. He's very cool, very superior.  He reads the manuscript, then tells me the written word is dead.  He knows what buttons to push and I am left a seething idiot.  The sweep and dip of his metaphors are outrageous and superb!  I snap my fingers at him, so.  O how I despise him.  And yet he loves everything but the name.  I wish I could think of a better title. 


The Left Hands of Paradise

Sons and Evenings


Cooper Newt, Sous-Chef

Men Without Hope

(Men Without Hair?)

The Yellow Eaters of Darkness

Chophouse One!

The Decline and Fall of Eden Philpotts

A Conspiracy of Barometers/Lepers?

Voices in an Empty Chair

(Voices in a Hat?)

The Prime of Swami Argopian

Here Comes Hamish!

Hamish, No No!

Hamish: The Wayward Pargonoper

Hamish Regained

The Other Hamish



Hmm.  God damn that Q!





Alex Pugsley is a writer and film-maker originally from Nova Scotia. He is the co-author of the novel Kay Darling. As a screenwriter, he has written for performers such as Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, Dan Aykroyd, Seán Cullen, and Michael Cera.  He lives in Toronto.

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YES, YOU CAUGHT A BOTHAN SPY. NOW GET OVER YOURSELF by Alexander Schmidt | Literature & Poetry |

Let me stop you right there, before you start your sneeringly triumphant speech.


            You caught me.  There’s no denying that.  But I’m a Bothan.  Everybody knows that every Bothan is a spy.  Everybody knows that every Bothan has an elongated snout, pointed ears, and a full-body covering of brownish hair.  Ergo, if you’re looking for the spy in the room, the spy is probably that giant talking dog.


             Oh, you’re going to check my bonds again?  Make sure I don’t wriggle free?  Make sure I don’t get past you, then get past the two stormtroopers with us in this holding cell?  Because then all I’d have to do is get past the array of stormtroopers, droids, and complex security systems throughout this Star Destroyer, after stealing a spaceship and flying away undetected.


              Some Imperial officer you are.  Which British planet did they train you on?


            Yeah, great work catching me.  And only with the help of a galaxy-wide military-industrial complex, vast armies of unswervingly loyal clones, a total lack of civil liberties laws to impede your counterintelligence work, and the help of a ruthless, all-powerful, clairvoyant leader.


             Have you ever tried spying on someone who’s clairvoyant without getting caught? Because thinking “I’m not a Bothan spy, I’m not a Bothan spy” over and over again doesn’t work.


            Oh, you’re going to bring in the black floating torture-orb now, huh?  Threaten to slowly kill me unless I tell you what I know?  Really original.


             Look, I’m a Bothan spy.  We all get tortured and killed eventually, because every time the Rebellion needs to know something, many Bothans die to bring them the information.


             “Many Bothan spies died to bring us this, many Bothan spies died to bring us that.”  At this point, the only way to be more than just another Bothan spy is to get tortured and killed by someone important.  This one cousin of mine got Sith-choked to death, and now all anyone talks about at Bothan Thanksgiving is how Blor’guzz “worked closely with Mr. Vader.”


             I already told you everything: my name is Gar Midanyl, the Rebellion sent me to steal secret Imperial battle plans, and my accomplices are Kolir Vong’rai and Borsk Drev’staan, who are both also Bothan spies, and who I saw being tortured in those other holding cells as you dragged me into this one.


            And Gar Midanyl is my real name. Us Bothan spies are so likely to get killed in the field that we don’t even use codenames.  You know what?  I can give you the names of every other Rebel spy in the galaxy right now.  Have you got a pen?  Good.  The spies’ names are Bothan guy, Bothan guy, Bothan guy, and a bunch of other Bothan guys.


            Look, we’re both just part of a larger system.  You guys build another Death Star, several hundred of us Bothans die to steal the plans and deliver them to the Rebellion, and then the Rebellion exploits the Death Star’s entirely predictable weakness at the last possible moment.  Then you guys use your endless wealth to build another Death Star, and the Rebellion uses its own inexplicably deep pockets to pay a couple thousand more Bothans to die, all to find out that a moon-sized battlestation can be destroyed by one breadbox-sized explosive.


             So just kill me already.  Before there’s another prequel.

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Did I Mention My Predilection For Your Sly Heat by Coleman Larkin

Did I Mention My Predilection For Your Sly Heat by Coleman Larkin | Literature & Poetry |

(Larkin’s lines slink like a neo-noir femme, with a teasing, smooth rhythm that pulls and shakes. Yet within the interlocking images of hot and cold, something electric dwells, with a bite, like the kick of a filterless cigarette)



Did I mention my predilection for your sly heat? Cold shoulder be damned it sneaks and warms without cause or consent. My God. I’d like to take a night walk with you around the holidays, watch you melt through to the pavement like a rivet and steam your essence. Even the snow couldn’t stay frozen in your thick atmosphere. You’ve got one you know, a second skin of hot atoms that cloud and shake, a larger version of your self that’s invisible but not empty, a coalescence of earned insights surrounding you like a superimposed shadow. Not everyone has it, and I’m not sure if it’s good. But did I mention my predilection?




The above painting is by Ernest Williamson III. Summer Associate, Allison Malecha describes her logic for this JUXTAPOSITION: "I was mainly taken by the idea of atmosphere in both this visual piece and in Larkin's text. He writes, 'Even the snow could stay frozen in your thick atmosphere.' In this painting, the atmosphere of this woman has a similar alluring quality, for it is drawing another to her. It is suggestive and sly, yet still overwhelming."


Coleman Larkin is a 28-year-old comedian, artist, writer, and award-winning journalist. His talents are currently wasted as a cook in Lexington, Kentucky.


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Poets' Looks by Arielle Greenberg Bywater

Poets' Looks by Arielle Greenberg Bywater | Literature & Poetry |

A lot of poets dress well.


One dark-haired poet I know wears an adorable nautical little sweater from time to time, and heels with her jeans, and always looks very put-together.


Her husband is the best-dressed male poet I know, and for a long time coveted boots that zipped up the back of the heel.


A light-haired poet I know always looks like she’s just flown in from some European coastal resort town, in simple silk tops and white jeans and hoop earrings.


I will never forget the felt-appliquéd straight wool skirts of a poet who also wears chic eyeglasses and beautiful sweaters, and who once called a hotel in a panic after she’d left one of her beautiful sweaters in her room while attending the annual AWP conference.


I will also never forget the incongruous orange tank top and cobalt blue strappy heels worn in the woods of a famous arts colony by a poet whose background contains multiple nationalities. The act of bringing cobalt blue high heels to an arts colony in a black-fly infested forest, much less the act of wearing them in the loam and dirt and unpaved paths, fills me with admiration.


And then there is a poet who has worn the same adorable 1940s print day dresses and cat’s eye glasses every day, every time I’ve seen her, for the decade that I’ve known her. It is her Look.



I often think about how I would like to have a Look.





Arielle Greenberg is the co-author, with Rachel Zucker, of Home/Birth: A Poemic (1913 Press, 2011), and author of My Kafka Century (Action Books, 2005), Given (Verse, 2002) and the chapbooks Shake Her (Dusie Kollektiv, 2009) andFarther Down: Songs from the Allergy Trials (New Michigan, 2003). She is co-editor of three anthologies: with Rachel Zucker, Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days (Iowa, 2010) and Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections (Iowa, 2008); and with Lara Glenum, Gurlesque (Saturnalia, 2010). Twice featured in Best American Poetry and the recipient of a MacDowell Colony fellowship, she is the founder-moderator of the poet-moms listserv.  In 2011 she left a tenured position in poetry at Columbia College Chicago to move with her family to a small town in rural Maine in pursuit of a different pace of life.  But she still cares a lot about clothing, and her latest fashion obsession is the new Jane Eyre movie; she wants to wear more chemises and petticoats.

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4-D Multimedia Storytelling with Meograph

4-D Multimedia Storytelling with Meograph | Literature & Poetry |

Meograph, a new digital storytelling tool released in beta on July 23, takes its name from its two key components: media and infographics. The concept, a hybrid of the Facebook Timeline, Google maps, photo albums, and sound files, sprung from the personal experiences of founder and CEO Misha Leybovich with multimedia storytelling and his resulting itch to improve upon those platforms and capitalize on their interactive potential.


As he told SocialTimes, the inspiration behind Meograph was threefold: "1) When I was 8, I read a book called Flatland and have been thinking about how to visualize space and time together ever since! 2) At my last job as a strategy consultant I became an expert at pairing data visualization and storytelling. 3) Over the past 7 years I’ve traveled to 70 countries and couldn’t find any way I liked to visualize my adventures. All those came together into Meograph, and once I started talking to my friends about it, the other applications (journalism, education, biography, etc.) became very clear." (


Meograph takes the Timeline concept to the next level. Users are prompted to identify important "moments" and flesh them out by providing information as to the what, where, and when of each. In addition to textual and photographic captioning, they can add audio narration, video clips, and hyperlinks to enhance personal experiences with outside perspectives. All of these media sources are set against the backdrop of a moving Google map or Google Earth street-level view matched to the event location. It's an experience in 4-dimensional memory -- a digital slideshow of your life, albeit a version that can be rewinded and fast-forwarded as desired.


Meographs can be embedded, shared, and interacted with using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr and personal blogs, and viewers are transported from moment to moment with a simple click of the play button.


Users can try out the platform and view a demo of how it all works on the Meograph site: As it is currently in beta, however, potential test must submit their email addresses to be granted an invite to do more than that at this point. Behind the scenes, Leybovich and his team have been working to fix glitches and improve the functionality of the platform. At present, Meograph works best with Google Chrome, and Firefox users may experience inconsistencies with audio playback. In a month's time, Meograph plans to introduce a new graphical authoring tool that will make file uploading more intuitive. Continuing to integrate the platform with social media networks so users can easily interact with their personal data throughout the Meograph creation process is also a top priority. (

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THNKR: YouTube's Channel to Knowledge

THNKR: YouTube's Channel to Knowledge | Literature & Poetry |

"The one space we’ve always had a passion for but feel like no one’s really cracked is knowledge. I won’t say education because it has a negative connotation, but smart content that stimulates conversation. So for us as a company we said, how can we best use our skill sets as content producers and storytellers, and if we’re going to go after this particular channel, what can we do differently?” Herein lies the rationale behind award-winning production company's forthcoming YouTube program, called THNKR. YouTube announced its $200 million plan to launch "Original Channels" in January 2012 and has already accrued the partnership of several celebrities, ranging from Shaquille O'Neal to Julia Stiles.


The line between "education" and "knowledge" is key to the functionality of the THNKR channel, as President of Media & Entertainment Justin Wilkes at explains. As opposed to cut-and-dry educational lessons, the channel will focus on informative and inspiring human-interest stories. THNKR will consist of four unique shows: Bookd, Epiphany, Podium, and Prodigies.


Bookd opens discussions on powerful non-fiction literature; Epiphany provides daily interviews with world intellectual leaders; Podium centers on the art of public speaking; and Prodigies will highlight the lives of standout talents in a wide (and often unexpected) variety of fields.


That process resulted in four distinct shows on the newly launched channel that focus on provocative and inspiring people, stories and ideas: Prodigies, which focuses on the brightest and most talented phenoms; Bookd, a series which discusses thought-provoking non-fiction books; Epiphany, a daily show featuring interviews with thought leaders; and Podium, a series that embraces and dissects the art of public speaking.


Over the next year, THNKR will unveil some 300 episodes featuring 30+ hours of content on its channels. The THNKR trailer and premiere episodes are viewable on YouTube:

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Mad Twitter story of the year | The New Digital Storytelling

Mad Twitter story of the year | The New Digital Storytelling | Literature & Poetry |

 1,046 tweets compose the story of fictional Harlod, shared with Twitter followers of @Henderzones in regular 140-character plot bites from January to June 2012 in the most extravagant internet literary epic to date. Crafted by LA-based web-designer Cameron McBride, the tale continues the story of the Bigfoot family from the 1987 film "Harry and the Hendersons" from the perspective of an unnamed narrator suffering from a head injury that causes him to type in mangled English.


Humor, character development, and tragedy were all critical parts of the writing process behind McBride's Henderzones endeavor. "In one “chapter,” Harlod hears movement in the basement of the Henderson home, and his protective instincts kick in. The intruder turns out to be an inspector from the gas company, but by the time the poor guy asserts his innocence, Harlod has already unleashed his unstoppable violence: “Harlod removal of the mans arms which he use to beat the man to quiet repose of eternal slumber,” the narrator explains. Later, after Harlod leaves the Hendersons—or what’s left of them, in the wake of his rampages—behind, he squares off against an antagonist (the mysterious “Grey Man,” who captures the beast for nefarious purposes) and hooks up with a sprightly gang of benevolent forest creatures, at which point the tale’s tone pivots from nightmare bleakness to guarded optimism. When the tweeted parts come together as a novelistic whole, the result is a complete—and surprisingly profound—work of gonzo comic fiction," reports Brian Wolowitz of Mother Board (


McBride is not alone in his capitalization of Twitter as a medium for narration. Dan Sinker, a Chicago professor of journalism, has also used the site to web a Twitter tale about a fake Rahm Emanuel. Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Jennifer Egan also recently published a short story through several tweet installments.


Serial stories such as this can be created using Chirpstory (, a site that provides a Twitter version of content curation aimed at the creation of story. Chirpstory loads the tweets from your feed and selected hashtags, and from there you can drag and drop them into your story timeline. You can personalize the timeline by adding photos, videos, and other media, as well as decorate the tweets themselves using a variety of colors and fonts, before sharing the story timeline through embedding in other social media sites.

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Viv Groskop: 'Fifty Shades' has done wonders for book selling, but nothing for publishing

"Is the popularity of their love affair great news, luring non-book-buyers into the fray and reinvigorating a confused, newly unpredictable market? Or is it a terrible indictment of the direction the industry is heading in, proving that digital hype, kinky sex (or, really, any sex) and the merest mention of "the red room of pain" are set to consign proper novels to the dustbin of history?"

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Here's an Idea: Let's Turn Pinterest Into a Massive Graphic Novel - Betabeat

Here's an Idea: Let's Turn Pinterest Into a Massive Graphic Novel - Betabeat | Literature & Poetry |

For most of us, Pinterest is an "ooh!" and "aah!" sort of social media platform. We see something that makes us squeal due to its cuteness/usefulness/applicability (but mostly cuteness) and repin it onto one of our boards in a process that can continue for quite some time before we manage to tear ourselves away and reemerge into real-world society. But BeActive, a transmedia publisher, sees Pinterest as having great potential in the storytelling world, and is taking the novel Beat Girl by Jasmina Kallay and sharing its story by means of a Pinterest profile:


Through boards such as "Music Speaks to Me" and "My Big Dream", the profile "tells the story of fictional DJ Heather Jennings in a method that’s not quite TV show, not quite in-person character sketch, and not quite graphic novel. With 160 pins and counting, viewers can catch new glimpses of Jennings’ life added daily. The interactive drama is presented as a prequel to an upcoming multi-platform video series" (


Pinterest is now the third most popular online social network, and Beat Girl has already accrued some 3200 followers. BeActive founder and CEO Nuno Bernardo explains: "We wanted to bring back the popular Photonovels of the 60s to the new digital generation. The tools and functionalities introduced by Pinterest allowed us to release the content the way we envisioned. As a world’s first we expect that in the future more and more stories will be told on this network using photos and still images."

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Your E-Book Is Reading You - Wall Street Journal

Your E-Book Is Reading You - Wall Street Journal | Literature & Poetry |

The Wall Street Journal reports that publishing companies have unprecedented access to people’s personal reading preferences, thanks to innovations in technology and the rise of the E-Book. (For example, they know that the most “highlighted” line in any novel comes from The Hunger Games. The second most-cited line is Pride & Prejudice’s opening.)

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Digital storytelling on the go | The New Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling on the go | The New Digital Storytelling | Literature & Poetry |

Ruben Puentedura shares his presentation materials for a mobile digital storytelling workshop. It's useful and thoughtful stuff, reaching from Five-Card Nancy to film theory.

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First Mobile Platform for Transmedia Storytelling - MarketWatch (press release)

Additional information on the Conductrr mobile app, courtesy of MarketWatch, details the following stories that are among the first to launch via the new platform:


-Roswell Amulet, a location-based scavenger hunt for the Roswell Film Festival and ComicCon 2012

-Psychophol, a Twitter and email-based interactive story for the movie The Mask of the Red Death

-Lowlifes, the webseries, novella and blog with murder-mystery game

-Rock Science, a location-based music quiz game from Sweden


The Conducttr mobile app is available to demo for free at

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What Is Going On With Library E-Book Lending? - Forbes

What Is Going On With Library E-Book Lending? - Forbes | Literature & Poetry |
Did you know that you can borrow e-books from your local library? If you're like most Americans, you didn't. In fact, 58% of library patrons have no idea they can borrow e-books from their library. And only 2% of people in the U.S.

Via Miguel Mimoso Correia
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Dying Guy Won't Stay Still Long Enough For Me to Outline Him in Police Chalk by Zack Bornstein

Dying Guy Won't Stay Still Long Enough For Me to Outline Him in Police Chalk by Zack Bornstein | Literature & Poetry |

Boy am I glad I found you, I can get your outline done before anyone else even gets here. Let me know if it starts to tickle—


Help you? But then I wouldn’t get to outline you. And I’ve got to meet quota. Sure, it ain’t every little boy’s dream to be a chalk outliner for the police, but it pays the rent and I’d rather outline my own brains on the sidewalk than go back to living at my mom’s and eat her beet casserole one more—


Oh cmon, man, will you please stop knocking into the chalk, your outline’s gonna look like an alien. The investigators will think an alien died here, and not you, and they’re gonna get all confused—


Woah, stop thrashing! Alright, fine to be real with you, I’m trying to get off early. And that means we can help each other out. You scratch my back, I outline yours. Ha! Just a little outliner joke, you may have heard it before. I do a little stand up at Gerry’s GigglePlex Tuesday Night open mics—


Huh? Yes, of course I realize that you’re still alive, you’re gripping at your chest and making all sorts of weird faces. That’d be a lot harder to do if you were dead. Now if you could just hold still for a—


Hey, woah, let go of my leg! That ain’t yours.


Okay, look, you keep retching and it’s getting pretty old. Aw man, don’t vomit. Am I supposed to outline that, too? Dammit, your bile is eroding my chalk. Now we have to start over, unless you really want the investigators going nuts looking for your space ship—


Stop moaning, you sound like someone imitating a dying person. Oh yeah, like I was saying, I’m trying to get off early to sign up for the open mic tonight. Plus, I’m pretty hungry, it’s 2:30 and I haven’t eaten since lunch! Oh ho ho, oh boy, told you I’m a joker, you should check out my Twitter, I just put up some new podcasts of—


Do I know CPR? Better question is, do you know CPR? How did you two meet? Ooooh! See what I did there? Hahaha—


Oh! That reminds me, I gotta go pick up my medic license. See, I already passed. The training was killer though, ha, killer, ironic, eh? Bit-worthy? Nah. But yeah, training was like five hours a day on top of this job. Meet a lotta characters though, like you, you know. Woah, know what? You would be a perfect character in this puppet play I’m writing, what do you think? Remember how they made all of those parody movies with the thumbs? Thumbtanic? Thumb Wars? Well my idea is to do the same thing, but with the pinky finger! Just as funny a finger, but it's got a whole extra joint! Twice the possibilities. What do you—


Ugh! You just knocked the chalk again. Guess you do want to look like an alien. Your choice, hombre. Are you thinking E.T. or like Alien-Predator style? Bahaha!


Just so you know, some people tip their outliners. Other people just knock me down! Cha Ching, I'm on fire!


Oh yeah, my story! Anyway, you should read what I’ve got so far. Here. Yeah, its pretty heavy, use both hands. I’m going to edit it down. My mom says I got a real knack for these things, but 500 pages is too long for a first—


Hey! Don’t mess up the pages, I can’t print another, my printer stopped working. It was laid off! Woohooo—


Fuck me? I barely know you! Ahahaha—


Oh cmon, seriously, stop, you’re crinkling the—


Fine, fine, fine, I’ll stop, just put down the pages. I want us both to leave here without a paper-cut. I see you’ve still got some spunk, so if you put down the pages, I’ll give you 10 minutes to pull yourself together, or I’m going to finish off your outline as is, and you’re gonna look like an alien. So yeah, what’s new with you? You want go get a beer? Fine, I guess I’ll just pour yours out. Haha, now jeez, what am I gonna do for 10 minutes.


Call who? 9-1-what? I can barely hear what you’re saying. Hmm, oh yeah, I can call my dad. He’s been nagging me all day to—


Huh? I still can’t understand you. Oh, and uh, you’ve got a little, uhh, you got a little boogie coming out your nose. It’s kinda gross. You can use my defibrillator to wipe it off. Oh no, never mind, I left it in the car.





Zack Bornstein is a student at The Film and TV National Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and also at Brown University with a major in Neuroscience and a minor existential crisis. His writing has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Catalyst, The Triple Helix, The Brown Noser, films, sketch & stand-up shows.

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My Most Recent Rejection Letters by R.T Sehgal

Ladies Home Journal


Thank you for your recent recipe submission. Unfortunately, it does not match our needs at this time. We would normally suggest sending it to another publication, but we doubt you would find a willing publisher since the act of preparing a Pop-Tart is considerably easier than the act of reading how to prepare a Pop-Tart. While your instructions do differ from those on the side of the Pop-Tarts box, the changes seem unnecessary and, to be frank, disgusting (for example, “Step 7: Spread 1 tablespoon of butter onto each Pop-Tart prior to placing in the toaster”).


Penthouse Forum


While we appreciate your recent submission, we regret to inform you that we will be unable to use it in our magazine. We don’t use fact-checkers and we certainly believe that fantasy plays a large role in what we do, but having Eleanor Roosevelt involved in your threesome seems odd given the historic level of her unattractiveness. Also, she has been dead for half a century. This last point might have been overlooked if you hadn’t specifically mentioned that the tryst took place “the night Peyton Manning finally won the Super Bowl.” And while your description of Franklin Roosevelt is quite literary (“He sat wheelchair-bound in the corner, legs crippled by polio but eyes moving in delight at the sight of his wife’s pleasure”), we’re pretty sure that this is not of great importance to our readers.




Thanks, but no thanks, for your recent submission, “Ten Ways to Please Your Man, If Your Man is Me.” Don’t you think it would be out of place for a magazine with a circulation in the hundreds of thousands to publish an article with such a narrow focus? Perhaps you might just give the article to your partner directly? Also, your title doesn’t seem to reflect the content of the “article,” which is over 30,000 words long and describes your journey from a young farm boy in Iowa to an “international arms dealer who has bedded Eleanor Roosevelt.” 


The New Yorker


We hope that this rejection letter does not catch you by surprise. Have you have ever read The New Yorker? Have you ever seen the cartoons we publish? If yes, then why would you send us a napkin drawing of a stick figure man? Doing nothing, just standing there? With a caption reading, “Another crappy New Yorker cartoon”? Why would we publish such a thing?


Daughters of the American Revolution


We appreciate your interest in our organization but it appears that you have us confused with some other group. We are not a dating service, sir. As such, there is no need for us to include pictures of our members on our website, as you so crudely suggested. We also do not provide escort services, so you’ll have to attend your company Fourth of July BBQ on your own. 


North Hills Sperm Bank


Thank you for your recent donation. Volunteers like you give hope to couples desiring children. I say volunteers “like you” because you personally are no longer allowed to donate here at North Hills. While we appreciate your attempted donation, the “product” was not up to our quality standards. And, to be honest, our quality standards are actually quite lax. Since your intake form didn’t raise any red flags, we are left to wonder. Were you in Russia at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear accident? Have you been involved in any trials of experimental medication? Were you ever placed in a microwave and cooked on high for more than thirty seconds? And, not to be completely insulting, but you are the offspring of a human male and a human female, right? We understand these are personal questions but you’ve piqued our interest.




First off, sir, we are a magazine for children. We publish games and art projects and stories for children. We do not publish smut, no matter how many former First Ladies are involved. That being said, we do like your Pop-Tart recipe. 






RT Sehgal is a physician and occasional writer living in San Antonio. He is known to post creations of widely varying quality and composition at

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What I Do by Alex Pugsley

So how can I answer your question?  The easiest way to describe what I do is … well you know the opposite of heaven?  Well I would be what you’d call the CEO of that.  Basically the highest-up.  See when the other guy before me took his package—and this would’ve been back in 2006.  No, I tell a lie.  That was 2007.  Well when he bailed, my fellow colleagues brought me up the ranks to be the chief guy and, got to say, it’s a pretty powerful position with a lot of unique opportunities.  Almost unlimited.  But with that comes a lot of responsibility.  Typically in a week I’m going to see murderers, arsonists, abusers of the helpless, oppressors of the poor.  The whole spectrum, effectively.  Job description’s pretty wide open on that count.  Which isn’t a bad thing because those are the core businesses and you don’t want to expand too far away from them too fast.  But I was brought in to come up with new ideas.  And maybe some of those ideas are going to be unpopular with the old guard.  That’s the chance you take.  But I’ve sort of always been an ideas guy and in a reasonable time horizon I want to try and float out a few new ideas here and there.  That’s the ideal.  We plan to expand the core businesses into new markets, invent new products, and newways to market established products.  That’s my goal.  In an ideal world.  Because our target market—and focus groups aren’t going to support this, this is more an instinct thing—but I feel very strongly, and talking ballpark here, of course, but let’s ask ourselves this: When bad things happen to you, that’s bad, obviously.  But what if bad things happen to other people?  And good things happen for you?  Is it bad when good things happen for you?  Or for people like you?  How can it be bad if it’s a good thing that happens—for you.  We’re all human and we all deserve the same chance, naturally.  Which is what anyone would think.  But in point of fact, and this is a bit of a new headspace to get into, what’s good for you and what’s good for other people is often a non-starter.  No one can track that.  That’s a pick-a-number who-knows kind of thing.  And not everyone’s going to know what the other people do.  And if other people don’t know about it, or if they never find out about it, how can something be bad if no one really knows or cares what happens to say, a nothing person?  Or a groupof nothing people?  And now we’re getting close to some of the newer initiatives I want to implement on a going forward basis and these are things that younger people like yourselves are going to track and bundle and see possibilities in the market that dinosaurs like us are never going to see.  Don’t even know how to spell.  You kids have your whole lives in front of you.  What kind of crazy time horizon is that?  Let me ask you this.  What kind of goals do you really want to achieve?  Because you got to have goals.  Let’s keep in touch.





Alex Pugsley is a writer and film-maker originally from Nova Scotia. He is the co-author of the novel Kay Darling. As a screenwriter, he has written for performers such as Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, Dan Aykroyd, Seán Cullen, and Michael Cera.  He lives in Toronto.


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