Sherwood Publishes Digital Poem in International Anthology

Kenneth Sherwood (English, Co-director of Center for Digital Humanities and Culture) published the digital poem “Coal Code” in the peer-reviewed Electronic Literature Collection. Programmed in Javascript, the multi-media piece combines lyric voice tracks with an array of images reflecting upon and recyling stories and postcard images from nineteenth century coal culture in Pennsylvania. The web version of the work invites viewers to interact with the piece, shaping the aural and visual experience, changing the tempo, intensity, and shifting between the symmetry of “duet mode” and the the chaos of “random.”


The code poem was created by Sherwood as his contribution to a collaborative installation with IUP Art Professor Bob Sweeny hosted in the Kipp Gallery. Sherwood previously published a version of the text as a print-chapbook called Code of Signals

The editors of the E-lit collection write: “All elit works involve interaction with technology, which can occur at any stage in the process from conception to reception. Elit works, to some degree or another, incorporate: (1) literary qualities co-produced by human and algorithmic interaction; (2) formal and/or conceptual innovation; (3) a transforming experience for readers through expressive algorithms.”

An international scholarly non-profit, the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) published this anthology to feature an international range of works in the field, including 132 literary works from 42 author nationalities in 31 languages. The prior three editions of this anthology were published in 2016, 2011, and 2006. ELO editors explai: “E-literature . . . derive[s] meaning from a fusion of computational and literary layers. This fusion shows that human literary creativity entwines technological innovation with cultural and historic context.” (ELC 2022)

Prof Sherwood teaches special topics courses on Electronic Literature in the graduate program in Literature and Criticism at IUP and he designed the undergraduate ENGL 421 Digital Writing course. He also presented virtually on the teaching of E-lit to IUP Honors College students at the annual ELO conference this past summer.

English Doctoral Students Cronin and Canton Awarded HASTAC Fellowships

IUP Literature and Criticism Doctoral students Joseph Canton and Meghan Cronin have been recognized as 2022 HASTAC scholars

Portrait, Cronin and Canton
Meghan Cronin and Joseph Canton, 2022 HASTAC Scholars and IUP L&C Graduate Students

Ms. Cronin plans to look at how Shakespeare can be studied and taught through digital means, with two scheduled presentations on the topic in 2022.  She has previously conducted computational analysis of Shakespeare plays using the text visualization tool Voyant. “I am tremendously honored and thankful that IUP English has recognized my award. I am excited about the avenues of exploration HASTAC participation opens up for me.”

Mr. Canton plans to lay the groundwork for his dissertation, helping to develop an academic podcast at IUP. “Incorporating podcasting will broaden the audience for my dissertation research and, through the process, should help expose others to how podcasting can complement literary study.” Canton’s project aligns with the newly formed national Humanities Podcast Initiative and broader trends in the “Public Humanities.”


Serving as the scholars’ IUP/HASTAC mentor is Dr. Kenneth Sherwood, Professor of English and co-director of the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture at IUP. “It was a pleasure to nominate Meghan and Joe, as two of our most creative, energetic, and forward-thinking students.” Sherwood became acquainted with their work in two IUP courses: ENGL 857 Digital Composition, Literature and Pedagogy and ENGL 865 Literature as a Genre: Podcasting, Narrative, Poetics, and Sound.

Cronin and Canton are among only four IUP students ever to receive this recognition. “I am happy that they will enjoy this opportunity to nourish their scholarship and professional development” says Sherwood, and “knowing Joe and Meghan, I am confident they’ll also bring their experience back to IUP to enrich the graduate community.”

Only 100 scholars each year are recognized by the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC), a national network administered by CUNY Graduate Center and Dartmouth College with 16,000+ members from over 400+ affiliate organizations. HASTAC aims to support young scholars “rethinking pedagogy, learning, research & academia for the digital age.”

Deliberate Tech Choice for Fulbright Teachers

DHC faculty Ken Sherwood and Gian Pagnucci offered a workshop entitled “Deliberate Tech Choice: My Domain for Teachers” to resident Fulbright teachers on Friday, October 1, 2021. The workshop introduced these international teachers to the framework of deliberate technology choice, aligning digital enhancements to teaching with student needs. Fulbright teachers learned to code a simple web page, create a self-hosted blog, and build a collaborative multi-authored wiki — as three tools from the MyDomain toolbox.

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The DHC is proud to announce the first phase — a collaboration to extend the valuing and study of global poetries.

Using the affordances of an open-access wiki, Dr. Kenneth Sherwood initiated the project in Summer 2021 with graduate students in ENGL 766/866 Comparative Literature Ethnopoetics. Students from a Fall class in Digital Humanities have been helping to develop the project. They have learned to create accessible, scholarly contextualization and commentary for important texts of global poetry originally collected by Alcheringa in the 1970s.

Ethnopoetics names an informal movement in poetry and scholarship dating to the late 1960s but has come more broadly to designate writing that reflects a heightened awareness of the artfulness of oral and traditional poetries and the ways in which diverse verbal arts illuminate world cultures; this writing can also reflect innovative theorizing and practices of representational practices, including transcription/translation. Coined by Jerome Rothenberg, ethnopoetics involves collaborations among poets, storytellers, singers, anthropologists, translators, linguists, and literary scholars.

Alcheringa was digitized by the Kelly Writers’ House at the University of Pennsylvania, and the content is used with permission of UPenn and the original editor, Jerome Rothenberg.

In the coming months, students working on the project will join Dr. Sherwood to talk more about what they have learned through this collaborative research, as well as next steps in the project.

Coal Code Node

Coal Code Node was produced as installation by Ken Sherwood and Bob Sweeny, October 2018, Kipp Annex. For the exhibit, Sherwood coded a poetic sound/image generator, video sequences of which were captured and this projection was combined with a film loop created by Sweeny and projected through a network of ropes strung across the space.

The javascript program can be run in Firefox and the code examined on