Category Archives: Worlds Within Worlds

“The Power of Books”

In 2003, artist Mladen Penev worked on a project called “The Power of Books.” The books featured in his project do not have titles or even words at all. In fact they are completely blank, but their stories are nonetheless electric. In “The Power of Books” we are seeing the words instead of reading them. They literally explode off the page just as they would in someone’s mind.



Paired with Penev’s work is Allison Peters’s poem “Shelved,” as first published in LitCouture.

Shelved” by Allison Peters


In a row like that, they look like a painting,

the books, an abstract about liveliness,

delicacy (colors, textures).

In all my time
—trying so hard to be both those things—
to find I am not (except for those

few undocumented moments of

human wholeness,

which, because no one can assert them,

of course are made of magic).

Lying alone below the sky, sometimes

you feel inspiringly small. Like

there are forces above you, about you,

and there are. The books all in a row, and I am

watching, mouth open, as if to speak.

Allison Leigh Peters won an Academy of American Poets Prize in 2010. Her work has appeared in the Michigan Quarterly Review, Burner Magazine, Up the Staircase, Connotation Press, WomenArts Quarterly, Oberon Poetry Magazine, Third Wednesday, Avatar Review, and elsewhere.  

This post was written by Katelyn Rogers.


Alt-Minds: Making “Transmedia” a Reality

See on Scoop.itLiterature & 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 set in Europe, 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 with pieces of information through video clips 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.

of the of of the of : poetry, redesigned.

See on Scoop.itWord Art

When we meet up to talk poetry, he has to go back out to the car a second time to bring in his new “book.” The thing is wrapped in a throw rug. It takes both of us to set it up, and it takes up a good portion of the table, standing up easel-like.

Hm, doesn’t sound like any poem I know. But yet that’s how James Heflin of The Valley Advocate describes the most recent work of his friend, the poet, artist, and editor Chris Janke in his “Art in Paradise” column.

It’s called of the of of the of. Yes, you read that right (and you’ll probably need to read it again). Rethinking and reconstructing the traditional form of a poem both literally and figuratively, Janke refers to it as an “art book”. It is in fact a book of nine books, formatted into a linear board of illusory, transparent line drawings matched with seemingly unconnected text. At the bottom of the six-by-six-inch, marginless page, you’ll find the parts that most resemble conventional poetry, without line breaks, a blur of unpunctuated, colliding words taken from the jargon of philosophers and neuroscientists. And that’s just where you start.

Next, you move on to the “interpretive” layers that respond to these words. They have “explanatory” names tacked on: the “big bang layer”, “flight map layer”, or “map of spain layer”; and are accompanied by visual elements that, though fragmented, form a larger whole in the full display of the nine books.

In various, inexplicable ways these “Visual elements, too, come into play, subway maps and hybrid creations like a tracing of every occurrence of the word “of,” with each “of” representing a high point in a topographical map,” details Heflin. As the reader opens and interacts with the books, new interpretations reinvent the meaning of the poetry and the relationships between the transparent art of the layering.

[If you still have no idea what could possibly be meant by this description, I don’t take it at all personally. You’re best off checking out the astounding images and explanations on Janke’s website!]

Graffiti Hotel Room In France & Some Ridiculous Bullshit About Dragons

See on Scoop.itThe Art of Everyday

Known as the “Panic Room”, this hotel suite in Marseille’s Au Vieux Panier hotel has been thoroughly “graffiti bombed” by internationall recognized graffiti artist Tilt.

The room features half clean, white walls, and half painted in colorful graffiti by Tilt. Deeming himself a graffiti traditionalist, Tilt “loves demonstrating that basic, primitive graffiti can be as strong as complicated 3D lettering, wildstyles and characters. His focus on fun, high impact shapes and strong colours is a reflection of his history as a true graffiti writer, trained on the streets and in the train yards”. His work with “agnostic fonts” is currently on display through July 7 in Barcelona, and images of all his work are available on his Blogspot site.

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Wouldn’t it be cool to “graffiti bomb” a room with Coleman Larkin’s memorable humor piece below (one of our all-time favorites, originally published in LitCouture last summer):


Many moons ago, in the lush forests of Morlop, there lived an elfin wizard by the name of Glarvin. Twas a well known fact that Glarvin was the most pure-hearted of all the wizards in Morlop (there were many) and perhaps the most pure-hearted wizard in the entire kingdom of Exqueematrobe. Indeed, Exqueematrobians spoke at great length of Glarvin’s courage, and it was customary for them to recite tales of his exploits during feasts and banquets, especially the annual Lerfing of the Swynx. “Lerf your melvins high!” the village joops would exclaim. “And drink heartily of thine duggle! For the great Glarvin of Morlop hath delivered us from the wicked Vintrosnog and it is in his honor that we kulm this juicy swynx! May it be a most hunkphorian sacrifice!” And every manling worth his snarkle saddle would lift his melvin to the sky and shout, “To Glarvin of Morlop! Long may his legend be told!

So sit back and relax as I forcibly subject you to some ridiculous bullshit about dragons.

It is said that not since the Cleptruvian Revolution has there been a more fearsome beast than the Vintrosnog. It stands as tall as a full-grown brawsby tree and has a wingspan as wide as the Pludnuffian River. Its skin is like chain mail and its red eyes glow like two embers plucked from the hottest fire. Its teeth are like a ribnut warrior’s daggers, with its foremost fangs, of which there are four, protruding at all times. Down the length of its spine and upon its tail are spikes like jagged shards of nard rock, and its vile tongue lashes wildly like a glumpy mudthicket. One can sense the Vintrosnog’s presence from miles away as it emits from every putrid pore the foul aroma of liblab and rotting sneedberries.

One day, as Glarvin of Morlop busied himself with mickle potions in his treetop laboratory, his nose began to twitch. Liblab and sneedberries were in the air. “And so it begins,” he said to himself, for every summer the Vintrosnog would leave the vast prairies of Nelbung seeking shade and sustenance in the forests of Morlop. His preferred meal, unfortunately, was elves such as Glarvin.

Hurriedly, Glarvin gathered his wand and book of spells, along with a copper amulet and a small vial of womproot extract. He climbed a ladder to his thatched roof and let out a piercing whistle that echoed throughout the land. Almost immediately the dull flapping of wings could be heard in the distance. It grew louder and louder still, culminating in a thunderous sound that shook the long, gray hairs of Glarvin’s beard. The clouds parted and a purple-feathered beast of a bird with a long, slender neck, a silver beak and a suede saddle soared into view. It was Xandeertay, Glarvin’s snarkle. Xandeertay hovered near Glarvin’s roof just long enough for Glarvin to hop onto his back and into the saddle. Glarvin took hold of the rugged belf-hide reigns. “To the Smelmack, Xandeertay!” he commanded. “For we must stave the advances of the wicked Vintrosnog and save Morlop once and for all!”

The Smelmack was a lugent on the nermy stonk of sleem. No doubt it would be the Vintrosnog’s first stop. Glarvin snazzled his brazzlebee and unsheathed his shining dinkly, a weapon bequeathed to him by his father, Trivlyputt, upon the latter’s death at the hands of an Oontharian jinklet during the Drebnettle Uprising. Legend has it that Trivlyputt placed the dinkly in Glarvin’s hand and, with his last breath, whispered, “Glarvin my beloved harble. Inkle this dinkly and melf it in your qualf. The fate of Morlop is in your groodjaw. Sipple your umptugger and slay the vile Vintrosnog.” And then he rujjered.

Glarvin and Xandeertay flew exploratory circles above the yapp bushes of Smelmack. The air was thick with the sickly smell of decayed sneedberries. Sure enough, the Vintrosnog was at hand, his muscular tail protruding from the dense hedges. Glarvin steered Xandeertay closer to the Vintrosnog, deftly maneuvering his trusted snarkle within striking distance. The Vintrosnog lurched and reared its hideous head. Glarvin, undeterred, let out his most blood-curdling Morlopian battle cry.

“AADSFLAAAABBIANDERVERRRRRRR!!” He smelded his dinkly and wurved his markle at the jerbull side of plimy. Six times he mibled the rekward! The flognurd nuggled the buggleby and the hogcurd kleemed off of the jorny’s glarb. “Dumple!” squeered Glarvin. “Dumple mine mert britches!” And the marmut dargled nuddly until its mubber lorfed higglygrubs upon the voodsnatches of zapgravel. The Vintrosnog blerfed Glarvin’s snarkle and drobbered his dinkly. Cloddy mod wallerstein jib numbtruckle doopy. Flarzen mozzle rodd trubly buttle dripcrud mifflipster. Licktrickle hub juggerbeef harf yasser jine larvel.

And they all lived happily ever after.


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.

Mad Twitter story of the year | The New Digital Storytelling

See on Scoop.itLiterature & 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, and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Jennifer Egan 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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Mind-boggling surrealist art by Igor Morski & “Head Injury”

See on Scoop.itArt Outdoors

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 LitCouture 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.

Yarn-bombing in Paris & “The Saddest Mustache in the World”

See on Scoop.itThe Art of Everyday

Visual artist Juliana Santacruz Herrera found herself like many city dwellers: unsatisfied with the constant state of disrepair of the streets of Paris. She set out to combat the potholes using colorful scraps of fabric, braided and coiled into the cracks in the street.

Known as “yarn bombing” or “guerilla knitting”, Santacruz Herrera’s work brings crochet art into contact with the everyday in an aesthetically abrasive way. She combines a palette of bright colored fabrics, creating a cheery contrast to the gray asphalt of Parisian streets. However, these bursts of color throughout the city are also intended to call attention to the municipal neglect of the urban streets; a socio-political statement brought about by the eye-catching “repairwork” of an artist’s touch in the everyday sphere.

Here at LitCouture, we love the concept and the execution of yarn bombing . . . and we also think this particular example looks an awful lot like a mustache. Which calls to mind the awesome prose poem by Daniel Romo that is currently featured on our site. Check it out:

The Saddest Mustache in the World

He sits in his bedroom blasting ZZ Top, twirling his wisps longing for a fuller self, betrayed by puberty for a lack of manliness, a mere bristle in a bountiful mop. Mornings are spent looking through the bathroom mirror with his best friend, Magic Marker, simultaneously filling in the sparsity of an upper lip and covering up difficult teenage years. At school, the bigger beards bully him—slam him into lockers and tease him trestleless, relegate him to a social status behind even his third cousin, Bowl Cut! The Saddest Mustache in the World sometimes gets lost in the philosophical dealings of follicles and often envies the Amish, Abe Lincoln, and East German women, wondering how different his life might be given hairier circumstances. As a youngster, he dreamt of flaunting facial locks in front of his peers, being the first one to sprout grizzly stubble from a fresh face. But today, The Saddest Moustache in the World just wants to be loved, his only wish—to have an adoring finger combing through his strands telling him how much of  a man he is. How much of a damn man he is.

Daniel Romo’s work appears or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, The Los Angeles Review, MiPOesias, Yemassee, and elsewhere. His first book of poetry, Romancing Gravity, is forthcoming from Pecan Grove Press. His second book of poetry, When Kerosene’s Involved, is forthcoming from Black Coffee Press. He teaches creative writing, and lives in Long Beach, CA. More of his writing can be found at

New York’s Underground Book Club


Photographer Ourit Ben-Haim captures New York’s readers while on the subway. The books they’re reading range from Pulitzer prize winner A Visit from the Goon Squad to The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

A Not-So-Secret NYC Bookstore


 “It’s a continuation of just me being a bookseller in the way that I want to be… If it’s all about money, there’s just better things to sell. Just sell crack. That’s a much better business.”

Bookseller Michael Seidenberg has moved his store into his apartment after his bookshop’s rent skyrocketed. He doesn’t seem to mind that people will soon invade his home.