An Ocean of Static is the poetry debut from award-winning Canadian digital writer J.R. Carpenter. Collaging computer code, ships’ logs and maritime vernacular, Carpenter maps the water between and beyond Britain and her homeland, charting the elusive story of the North Atlantic.
From the late 15th century onwards, a flurry of expeditions were made into the North Atlantic in search of fish, the fabled Northwest Passage, and beyond into the territories purely imaginary. A book of discovery, An Ocean of Static voyages across this expanse of water and time, placing historical texts about exploration alongside today’s code languages. Over 240 years since James Cook’s final voyage set sail for a route through the continent, J.R. Carpenter – a Canadian poet living in Plymouth – has crafted a timely and politically charged debut exploring migration and colonialism, melting sea ice and changing ocean currents.
Taking its influences from Cook and Scott via Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, this is a formally inventive book of found text and reworkings, of repositioning and reimagining. In An Ocean of Static, computer glitches create sequences of linguistic variables, and the shores of phantom islands are littered with sea-drenched ships’ logs and fractured source code. An Ocean of Static is presented in a beautiful paperback edition, with French flaps and cover foiling, designed by Zigmunds Lapsa.
J.R. Carpenter is a Canadian-born, UK-based artist, writer, performer, researcher, and maker of maps, zines, books, poetry, short fiction, long fiction, non-fiction, and non-linear, intertextual, hypermedia, and computer-generated narratives. Her pioneering works of digital literature have been exhibited, published, performed, and presented in journals, galleries, museums and festivals around the world. She is a winner of the CBC Quebec Writing Competition, the QWF Carte Blanche Quebec Award, the Expozine Alternative Press Award for Best English Book, the Dot Award for Digital Literature, and the New Media Writing Prize. She lives in Plymouth, UK.