Rebooting Electronic Literature: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media

Rob Kendall’s "A Life Set for Two"

Robert Kendall's Biography

Robert Kendall has been creating interactive multimedia poetry since 1990, making him one of the earliest practitioners of the form. He is the author of a book-length hypertext poem, A Life Set for Two (Eastgate Systems, 1996). His hypertext poetry has also appeared on disk in The Little Magazine and Version Box. It has appeared on the Web at Iowa Review Web, BBC Online, Eastgate Hypertext Reading Room, Cauldron & Net, and Cortland Review. A Wandering City (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1992), his printed book of poems, won the CSU Poetry Center Prize. Kendall's printed poetry has appeared widely in magazines (including Rattapallax, Contact II, River Styx, New York Quarterly, Barrow Street, and Indiana Review, and several anthologies have included his work. He has received a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship for literature and a New Forms Regional Grant Program Award.

Kendall has read his poetry at numerous locations in many states and in Europe, as well as on Manhattan Cable TV and nationally syndicated public radio. His electronic poetry has been exhibited at many sites in the USA (including the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia and the Dodge Poetry Festival in Waterloo, New Jersey), as well as in England, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, the Philippines, and Brazil. A videotape version of the work was shown at the Second Annual Poetry Video Festival in Chicago and on Manhattan Cable TV. Kendall curated an exhibit of digital and interactive artwork for the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, which included his own work.

Kendall lectures frequently about interactive literature and electronic publishing and has given talks at many conferences and festivals, including conferences of the ACM and AWP. Since 1995 he has taught hypertext poetry and fiction through the online program of the New School University in New York. Over 100 of his articles and essays about computer technology and computers in the arts have appeared in publications ranging from PC Magazine, PC Computing, and Electronic Musician to Poets & Writers Magazine, Leonardo, Electronic Book Review, Cortland Review, Kairos, and Without Covers (a collection of essays from Purdue University Press). His papers have appeared in the proceedings of two ACM Hypertext conferences, one Digital Arts and Culture conference, and two Small Computers in the Arts symposiums. He was formerly the hypertext literature editor of the SIGWEB Newsletter (published by the Association for Computing Machinery), for which he wrote a regular column. His Web site Word Circuits publishes hypertext literature and offers a host of literary resources.

He is on the Board of Directors of the Electronic Literature Organization and is the founder and original director of the Organization's Electronic Literature Directory. He is codeveloper of Connection Muse, an adaptive hypertext authoring system for Web poetry and fiction. His papers are archived by Duke University.––from Word Circuits

Kendall was born and raised in Canada. He earned an MA from New York University, sojourned in New Jersey and San Francisco, and now lives in Boston.
Versions of A Life Set for Two

✭ Version 1.0: Eastgate Systems, Inc. 1996

✭ Version 1.1: The Little Magazine (excerpt from the pre-published version of the work) 1996

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