Hidden Text-Blog #2 Mandrake

When I first tried to read “The Mandrake Vehicles” I was extremely confused. Nothing seemed to make sense, and as interesting and entertaining the “floating” words were, the meaning of the poem seemed extremely scattered. I went through the text a few times, reading and trying to comprehend especially the stages in where there was no punctuation, and random spacing in-between certain words and letters. After still not really understanding I looked back at the blogs and did find that Diana Huang’s post was insightful and informative on the actual history of the Mandrake, however we were both in similar boats with the factor of confusion.

After returning to the website I found that on the home page of “The Mandrake Vehicles” there is a brief note on the mandrake form. In the note Buchanan describes the form and intention of the work more clearly. I found this to be extremely helpful and although I still don’t understand the meaning of the poems, the style and form of the work is much more intriguing to me. Buchanan describes the idea of “lighter” and “heavier” letters and words which I found to be incredibly insightful since though they fall away, they still function in the same initial format but creating new thoughts.

I also found the description of “liquid layers” to be extremely helpful to my understanding of the poem. I thought that the connection with this level being transitional is a perfect way of describing the purpose of the 3rd and 6th stages. In these stages there is no spacing or punctuation to help the reader separate the words from one another which I found when I read it first, rather confusing. However, after understanding it was simply a transitional stage it made much more sense to me.

Though I found this piece to be extremely strange and confusing in meaning I found that after reading the note on the Mandrake form, that I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the poem(s) much more. I think at first you are slightly overwhelmed and don’t realize how much thought is put into such a work. I also thought that on a more creative level the work in a way could possibly symbolize a Mandrake. As Buchanan mentions in the note all of the Mandrake’s roots are interconnected. Each passage or vehicle is connected to each other-as the first paragraph of each continues to the first paragraph of both the second and third vehicle. The “lighter” words that sink down also reminded me slightly of how a plant transitions and loses its leaves, and after the words fall to the bottom the actual structure of the poem looked more similar to a plant. Although the poem can be interpreted many different ways and although I found the meaning of it pretty confusing I thought the development behind the text was incredibly interesting and insightful. I thought it really illustrated how creative digital literature could be, however at the same time showed how a lot of hidden and “secret” text can also make the poem confusing for the reader.

Kezia Wong


~ by ksw15 on January 24, 2011.

One Response to “Hidden Text-Blog #2 Mandrake”

  1. In my next blog post I am going to work to not focus so much on own reactions. Try to focus more on what the authors intention is. Elaborate more on topics. Look as well at multiple aspects of the work-such as listening to the html as well as reading the text. How techniques are used to portray meanings. Focus away from finding “correct” meaning.

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