Thursday, October 18, 2012
69. word for/word } in space.
You must take a look at the current issue of word for/word. Once again, Editor Jonathan Minton and Web Designer Corey Lafferty find harmony between the needs of a literary journal and the limitations / freedoms of the Web. word for/word is the most readable online poetry journal I’ve ever seen, concerned with the way a reader experiences a poem on the webpage. For instance, poems on word for/word don’t slip beneath the “fold”—in the current issue, what can’t be read without scrolling down is in gray; tap an arrow key and the poem is turned, as if it were written on the outer edge of a wheel, illuminating the next part of the poem. In past issues, the reader slides through the poem, a little like turning a page but more like sliding tiles from right to left, revealing new text beneath.
For the sake of comparison, look at an issue of Octopus Magazine or Coconut, two well-regarded journals I find disappointing in terms of design. (That said, while visiting Coconut, take a moment to read Snezana Zabic’s “Translation Manual”—she’s a favorite poet of mine. Design aside, Coconut has published many terrific poets. And what the heck, while at Octopus read Ana Božičević’s translation of Zvonko Karanović’s “Dark Highway.”)
That the new word for/word is written on what looks like a transparent globe floating in space turns the entire issue into a metaphor. I see something isolated, small but brilliant, in a vast universe of code. Akin to the Earth as seen from the moon. I don’t mean to be so dramatic. The design just seems honest—aware. At the very least, it’s very clever and a pleasure.