Jeffrey by Lewis LaCook

Jeffrey” is a poem in which the reader must rearrange boxed symbols in order to change the poem’s configuration. That being said, it is a hodgepodge of noises, symbols, illustrations, and words. It is, in a word, overbearing, and in many different aspects.



Visually, “Jeffrey” is very colorful and animated.  Each “verse” consists of various handwritten words (in cursive),  and by moving around their corresponding boxes, you can rearrange their positions.  However, to me, rearranging the words didn’t change the meaning at all. In fact, it only made me question what the meaning of the poem was.  There is no continuity or connected message the words represent.  The words themselves are difficult to read, and with so many of them on each page,  the effect can become overpowering.

The sound effects are off putting.  They are in continuous loop, and it isn’t exactly clear what they are.  They are different in each verse, ranging from what sounds to me like mechanical noises, to muffled speaking.  Overall, they are constantly clashing and colliding, bringing to mind the stress of being immersed in the sound.  In this way, the sound correlates very well to the handwritten text.

l e w i s   l a c o o k


It should be noted that one of the hyperlinks to a verse does not work. The verse is “It’s Kinda Nice,” and it makes me wonder if this is just an error, or if the fact that the title has a positive connotation, yet doesn’t work, has a deeper meaning behind it.

Ultimately, the piece is very assaulting on the senses.  It brings to mind the fine line between hearing and listening, and seeing and observing.  The music is audible, but not clear, and the handwriting is barely legible, making it look more like abstract art than cursive.  The piece’s interactivity rearranged words, but does it rearrange meaning? To me, I think this poem borders, much like its other aspects, on the fine line between meaning and meaningless.  And as Leonardo Flores said about this work, “the result is messy, full of noise, and perhaps, meaning.”


  5 comments for “Jeffrey by Lewis LaCook

  1. Cameron Hodge
    March 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    On your mention of the broken (or possibly not-broken) link: this is where we’re getting into the indeterminate aspects of digital media. Whether it’s broken intentionally or accidentally is a subject for discussion, but a greater point of discussion is how this broken component affects the text independent of its intent or lack thereof. We can just as easily draw meaning from the broken link and its surrounding context if it were unintentional as we could were it intentional (and, depending on Lewis LaCook’s mindset, may be left to its own for what it adds to the piece.)

    The big question I would ask is: should it be “fixed?” Is it okay to go back and revise it or should it be left as it is, indicating that whatever was once there is no longer (assuming it’s unintentional)?

  2. karmakona
    March 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    In my opinion, this was more jarring than Randy Balma Municipal Abortionist, both visually and audibly. Although I do agree with you that the off-putting sound corresponds with the unharmonious illustrations moving around, that did not make the piece any more enjoyable. As far as re-arranging the words of the poem, I do not think it changes the meaning at all because the original order has no set subject matter, so it is irrelevant.
    Regarding the one broken link, my opinion is that it should not be fixed. It was a sigh of relief to avoid another convulsing page, and adds more consideration to the piece than if the link were not broken.

  3. mstough
    March 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    This is definitely not a poem in the tradition sense, as much as it is an experience. The words don’t seem to carry the weight of the message as commonly seen in a poem. Instead, it is the aesthetic and aural experience surrounding it that carries the importance of the poem. However, I have trouble understanding what can be gathered from this poem when there is so much content to sift through. I think the link is the only thing that a discussion can be built around, and I find that the break it gives the reader by not working is nice and might indicate what the intention was of it. I had trouble extracting any other meaning because of the font choices and conglomeration of images and sounds.

  4. star
    March 25, 2014 at 11:31 am

    The words and sounds that I could comprehend were bold, fowl, Passive, Turnout, squishy, The visual eye and cursive word lent are tied together. I think the words alone without any real context contradict themselves and add to the chaos of the poem. Other words in cursive were equalizing, and physical. The distortion of the only face we see, the cursive words, and the sounds created a poem that was comprehensible. I wasn’t sure when the poem would finalize or how it would create a feeling of finality. I think the broken link symbolized the end. I was thankful for the link because it was the only thing that was clear and certain in the entire poem.

  5. kmunnis
    March 31, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    The work definitely challenges the idea of what a poem is/can be. I found the terrible hand-writing and the audio couldn’t work without each other, but at the same time I was put off by how bad it sounded, but the face and human features give this work humanity. I interpreted it as a form of expressionism and that the cacophony of sound, illustrations, and words are coming from a person who evidently, is not so easily understood.

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