Thirteen Ways of Killing a Scrub-Jay

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Presentation Title:

  • Thirteen Ways of Killing a Scrub-Jay

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Abstract:

  • Keywords: Electronic literature, e-lit, blog fiction

    “Thirteen Ways of Killing a Scrub-Jay” is an online work of electronic literature by the author. A prose-poem in the form of a blog, it explores a modern theme of violence while playfully or darkly echoing Wallace Stevens’ well-known poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” “Scrub-Jay” transforms Stevens’ structure of thirteen meditative stanzas into the reversechronological narrative of blog entries for thirteen consecutive dates. Each entry, along with an original arresting image, describes a different method used by the unidentified bloggernarrator to kill a Western Scrub-Jay. Scrub-Jays, an aggressive and violent species, can be annoying not only to other birds but also to humans; certainly the narrator finds them objectionable. In the course of these thirteen blog entries, the narrator’s murderous methods evolve from the more distant to the more intimate (if read in chronological order), or from the more intimate to the more distant (if read in “blog order”). Thus the work comments on the blog form as well as the Stevens poem.

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