In the last decade, as the way we access the Internet evolves, it’s become important for websites to respond accordingly. Responsive web design allows the content of a website to change depending on the device it’s being viewed on. You might be viewing this latest issue of The Crunch on a desktop computer, for example, or perhaps on a tablet or smartphone. The content is the same between these devices, but the way it’s presented is slightly different. In order to achieve this responsiveness, content must channel Bruce Lee, becoming “shapeless, formless, like water.” This fluidity gives website content the best chance of meeting the needs of all Internet users.
By its very nature, poetry is neither shapeless nor formless. Poets make conscious decisions about where to end a line, and how much space is needed at the edges of a poem. As our Issue #6 guest Christopher Cornwell points out, a poem has a materiality – it’s a graphic constellation that is as visual as it is anything else. It seems strange, then, that the publishing of poetry is still largely an exercise in shoehorning – requiring poems that suit the format, not formats that suit the poems. At the very least, this creates a few ‘floating words’, where a line is just a little too long for the standardised A5 page. However, at its most destructive, it takes a scythe to the open field, places a jackhammer on concrete, and bends shapes beyond recognition.
Christopher Cornwell’s poetry is idiosyncratic in style and form. Unfortunately, this often sees him struggle to find publication. In Issue #6’s podcast, he suggests that all poetry seeks to “release itself from temporality, to leave lasting images that sit like an imprint.” This desire transcends the way a poem is formatted, and definitely applies to Christopher’s more experimental output. Although we aren’t presenting any of his poems on the page, we’re pleased that the water-like nature of The Crunch means we can find space for poets like Christopher, who might find it difficult to place their poetry elsewhere.
Issue #6, June 2017
CHRISTOPHER CORNWELL is a poet, originally hailing from Cambridgeshire, who now lives and studies in Swansea. His work has been featured in The Lonely Crowd and Wales Arts Review, for whom he has also contributed criticism and commentary.
He has edited The Lampeter Review and is the current editor of newly-founded online magazine The Gull. His first collection, Ergasy, will be published by The Lonely Press in 2017.
Note: To view a video in full screen mode, select the [ ] icon in the bottom right corner of the video.