[Text: and it tilts. The thought of such knowledge, hard to gain, how to keep, we have lost, except for the Rabbis who copy the Talmud, who know by G[ ]d no scintilla must change, not by unconscious slips, not “corrected by sages, not in 26,000 years–me, I take what I get from the Navy’s lunar Web Page. but I should go to Tarot: 52 weeks, 4 season suites of 13 (moon-months, 14 x 2 days ) are not enough: “a year and a day  will (nearly). fit that sun in, that’s the Joker, and in the Leap, fourth Year, a year-and-a-day and another]
The above image was taken via screenshot from Stephanie Strickland’s Vniverse, a computer-based medium that consists of a field of virtual stars that are linked to lines of poetry from Strickland’s paperback Waveson.nets. This post will address the mechanics of Vniverse and then relate the work’s structure to the content of the stanzas shown above.
There are two ways to find the words in Vniverse. The first is to type a number into the circle at the upper right hand corner of the interface and then press “return.” This reveals a constellation (as seen in the image), a word, three lines of Waveson.nets, and the star that connects to them. It is possible to read through the entirety of Waveson.nets using this method, however, it is time-consuming and not highly rewarding. The second way to reveal the words in Vniverse is to hover your cursor over any of the stars. The same things appear initially, but if you double click on the star, the entire page of Waveson.nets that the lines are from is displayed (as seen above). Sometimes there is a “next” button that takes the reader to the next page of Waveson.nets, but it is impossible to read through the entire poem using this method.
Like many hypertexts, Vniverse addresses the evolution of literature from a time before the invention of the book to the age of the computer. Vniverse’s interface is a field of stars because studying the cosmos was the closest thing the nomadic peoples of the Ice Ages had to reading, and the work is meant to draw parallels between that lifestyle and our methods of reading today (Strickland). Waveson.nets pages eighteen and nineteen further extrapolate this comparison into the age of the Internet. The title of the poem already invokes thoughts of the Internet, and the use of square brackets and mathematics in the text is more reminiscent of code than poetry.
Waveson.net 19 addresses the codification of knowledge, referencing books and the Internet. The previous page is focused on nature and constellations, which represents the knowledge of a time when humans learned from stars instead of books. In Waveson.net 19, Strickland says that “The thought of such knowledge, hard to gain, hard to keep, we have lost, except for the Rabbis who copy the Talmud.” The reference to the Talmud shows Strickland’s opinion on how computers have changed humans’ interaction with knowledge. The Talmud is a document also known as the “oral Torah” that was passed down in Jewish tradition orally for a very long time before it was written down, and though it is as much an information system as other books, it is not treated like an average book. Any study of the Talmud is done with the understanding that parts of it have been lost and that it was meant to exist only orally.
Strickland pays respect to this viewpoint in the text by saying directly that the Rabbis who copy the Talmud have something that “we,” presumably the rest of humanity, has “lost,” but she also shows the opposite side by talking about the ease of getting information from the internet. The obvious advantages to today’s methods of gathering information are not ignored, but Vniverse is interested in acknowledging that while paying tribute to the way human knowledge has evolved from the sky to books to today.