Brian Kim Stefans

Brian Kim Stefans is the author of three books of poetry, including Free Space Comix (Roof, 1998). His most recent book is Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics, a collection of poetic essays. A new essay will appear in New Media Poetics: Histories, Institutions, and Audiences, published by MIT Press in 2004. He edits the website Arras, devoted to new media poetry.

Essays by this author

Against Desire: Excess, Disgust and the Sign in Electronic Literature


Brian Kim Stefans proposes the need for a resistance to the “free play” associated with electronic writing, and discusses how this resistance will elevate electronic literature for both the author and the reader. He argues that poetic discharge is comparable with excess and bodily disgust, citing Sianne Ngai, and Steve McCaffery’s “North of Intention.” Stefans argues that avant-garde excess must be based on a balanced reflection on authorial presences. He draws his argument from his work on The Scriptor Project, which was inspired by his desire to bring “digital textuality back to the drama of the hand making marks on the page - literally dramatizing the act of writing by hand, the plays of body and mind that are erased in standard typography.”

Language as Gameplay: toward a vocabulary for describing works of electronic literature


Just as Walter Benjamin declared that all “great works of literature either dissolve a genre or invent one,” Brian Kim Stefans argues that all successful works of electronic literature are sui generis and invent their own genre. There can be a vocabulary for this invention, however, and Stefans sets out “The Holy Grails of Electronic Literature,” “Six Varieties of Crisis,” and the “Surrealist Fortune Cookie.” Through these concepts, he describes the formal challenges, reading experiences, and fundamental textual units of electronic literature.

Privileging Language: The Text in Electronic Writing


Now that the First Person essay collection is complete and the case has been made for computer games as a form of narrative, Brian Kim Stefans asks the fundamental questions - concerning what can be read as literature, and what really cannot.