Watch your cholesterol

In this piece of electronic literature, “Tasty Gougère” Helen Burgess takes her own spin on Taroko Gorge by adding an edible element to the poem.  She remixed the piece to now have words of unhealthy nature such as fatty, butter, pastry, herbs, crusts, brie and so on. She also put a warning on the side that would tell the level of cholesterol intake is over 160 you would be in trouble. Then a bar below talks about all of the warnings of what would happen if you were to eat those types of food. It would then list medicines you should take if you end up having high cholesterol. The interesting part of this piece of itself if that while the right side of the page is telling you all of the dangers of eating these types of foods, the left side is being a devils advocate in itself. It is allowing the reader to be dangled with temptation right in front of them while being reminded that they can’t eat it. It was this harsh narrative while everything sounded so good to eat the right side is saying that you need to take all of this medicine and that there are so many more health issues that high cholesterol could lead to. Reading this poem was a totally different perspective than the original in a way that the persona of the poem was yourself on a cheat day when you are on a harsh diet that is forced on you by your doctor. Your doctor tells you that you aren’t allowed to eat these things (right side) using a counter and medicine jargon. The left side is all your dreams and describes how it would taste eating everything you can’t have. The preparation, the ingredients, the taste you have as your tongue touches the pastry. The best metaphor that I have for this piece is having an angel and demon on your shoulder and you have no choice but to listen to both.  

In comparison to the original Taroko Gorge which is based off of the national park, the poem itself revolves around the scenery of the park. The ridges, the stones, the water rippling, the basin etc. The poem doesn’t have a back story as it’s an endless algorithm that runs and jumbles up the words and recreates stanzas while putting the words in different places. As if to give the poem new meaning every time it is read by a new reader. This is the same in the one that I have read in the sense of the format is exactly the same. The changes that were mainly made were: the background, the context, the cholesterol counter, and the line that gives endless warnings. The warnings are different from the original because it one singular line as if it was on the bottom of a page on a weather or news channel giving announcements and keeping everything up to date. In this version it seems like a medicine commercial where it gives a list of side effects. Overall the theme of this piece for me was temptation and being able to see past the all the savory words and focusing on the words that remind you of your health is at risk. You are a ticking time clock and you don’t want to rush to the end. 

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