Internet Heaven: Exploring Poetry and Digital Rhetoric
Writing and Rhetoric
Writing & Rhetoric
internet, heaven, poetry, digital rhetoric, rhetoric, LGBTQ, YouTube, queer, DIY, video
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In this project I create a digital experience using poetry to challenge standard ideas of the rhetoric surrounding LGBTQ identity and to learn about the ways in which the internet and social media enable alternative methods of expression. I explore the following questions: What is the potential for the internet, particularly social media, to change the ways LGBTQ people express their stories? How is the internet changing the ways LGBTQ poets are creating their work? This project involves the creation of several YouTube videos about LGBTQ poetry to be presented at an end-of-the-semester event. Two of the videos involve poets talking about their work and the ways in which the internet influences them, and the other is my performance of an original poem about my own identity and experience as a gay, non-binary individual in the internet age. This project is informed by rhetoric scholars such as Jacqueline Jones Royster (2003), and considers “non-normative arenas” of rhetoric as sites for challenging the dominant elite, white, heterosexual, and male-centered spaces of rhetorical thinking. It also works with Malea Powell et al’s idea of cultural rhetorics (2014), which sees storytelling and human relationships as integral to understanding meaning-making and culture creation. This project uses YouTube as a non-normative arena to engage with cultural rhetorics by telling my own story and the stories of other LGBTQ poets whose voices are often underrepresented in academia.