This year I perused and deployed a few tools to version Moore’s “Poetry.” A variety of successes and failures ensued. While navigating the code and technical language necessary for the function of each tool, I strangely found the task spurred a highly figurative challenge. I needn’t find a tool that could provide an isomorphic representation of the text. Instead, I desired a tool that could provide an apt metaphor for the poem in question—one that in visualizing the poem could speak to the poem in its variant forms while acknowledging its own formal influence and capacity. My versioning of Moore is itself a version. Here are some of the tools I tested and the results they yielded.
TimeLineJS: As I discussed earlier in the semester, I dabbled with TimelineJS in an attempt to temporalize the versions of Moore’s “Poetry.” I was drawn to the sliding sleekness of the tool, but ultimately the timeline format was not ideal for engaging and visualizing Moore’s multi-formed poem. While I would like to incorporate the variable of time into versioning, this tool more appropriately lends itself to articulating biographies, histories, and events.
GitHub: I deposited “Poetry” into GitHub, deploying the tool as a tracker of textual changes. I like the idea of creating a time-stamped repository of Moore’s poetry in which forks emulate alterations in the text. Strangely, the versioning of “Poetry” in GitHub functions clearly and simply on a visual level: colour-coding and plus and minus signs denote variations. Lines of poetry / lines of code: the analogy appeals because tracing poem variants like code acknowledges the inherent fluidity and history of the poem bound in its final iteration.
modVers: Daniel Carter’s modVers proffered a neat, useable visualization for Moore’s “Poetry.” The VM provides a line-by-line comparison and displays multiple, movable iterations of a poem all at once. The highlighting and annotating features allow scholars to embed pertinent information and interpretations into the presentation. “Poetry” in the VM coheres to the argument that Moore, over time, shifts from particularity and detailed passages toward generalization.