A Cultural Gem

Not really knowing where to begin because I have no experience with Electronic Literature, I explored the Electronic Literature Collection (Volume 1) provided by our professor.  After looking through most of the icons and being severely confused through most of them, I found one entitled “Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky (to view it click Here)” by Sharif Ezzat.

By clicking begin, the screen becomes a night sky with lots of stars.  A man speaking in an Arabic voice starts talking about all these stories he has to tell.  He gives nine different stories that you can choose from.  However, you have to click on the star in the sky that glows blue to read about them.  In the background, there are bells chiming and birds chirping, making the reader feel very, very calm.  The stories are in poem form and talk about the author’s family and other topics that have a sort of cultural feel to them.

The first three poems I clicked on had to do with his family.  His uncle, cousin, and sister’s stories are told through his poems.  All of these stories ended very negatively, without any sort of solution to them, and the source of their pain is love.  I found it quite ironic with the calming music playing the background and the pain that has happened in the lives of his family.  I felt strangely calm about everything that was going wrong.  At the same time, he added a poem about how he met his “love.”  This was the happiest of the poems.

The other poems have to do with what at first seemed like random poems.  On closer examination, there are two poems on the environment and how we have destroyed the land we inhabit, one on eternity, and even one making the statement that everyone in the world is part of one family.  All of these poems, show Ezzat’s view of how important things like family and the earth are and how they can add to our lives.

This is a wonderful addition to Electronic Literature because it is so easy to navigate.  As I said before, with most of the other pieces I looked at, I was confused with some of the content.  With this piece, I was never confused and I felt confident in what I was reading.  I also think that this piece brings forth a cultural side.  If these poems would have been read without the music, the voice speaking in Arabic, and the sky background, it would not have brought forth the obvious Islamic culture.  I read all of the poems in a different light because of this influence.  I really enjoyed this piece and I recommend it to every one.

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