Modalities of Cybertext Poetry: John Cayley vs. Hsia Yu

What makes a poem cyber? The term cybertext encompasses two different modalities of writing. One involves the use of digital technology and electronic platforms in its conception; the other taps into the technology of the codex to engage readers’ cognitive-perceptual and embodied (as opposed to hermeneutic-interpretive) participation in the unraveling of texts. This talk showcased exemplars of the two modalities ofcybertext using the experimental works of John Cayley and Hsia Yu, with a focus on how they turn Chinese poetry into multimodal and multisensory artefacts. On the basis of these examples, we further theorised the cybertext as a spectrum category, which enables us to identify gradations of cybertextuality in literary works, based on the degree to which readers may substantively intercept the text and influence its trajectories or outcomes.