November 6, 2008

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MUDe, by John Redmond, Carcanet Press, 2008, 52 pages
By Dan Szczesny dszczesny@hippopress.com
Multi-User Dimensional worlds, or MUDs, are apparently online worlds created by language alone. I say apparently because I was surprised to learn that people still play MUDs. Not John Redmond, though, who uses the MUD universe to form a series of mostly clever poems exploring the connections between the Internet and the lives of people using it. The first section of the book is a series of amusing, but not particularly original, poems about supposed game-boy interests like experimental language, car culture and fast food. The second half of the book, though, is the long title poem, and it’s here that Redmond really connects with the universe that is his theme.

In “MUDe,” Richmond tells the tale of a four-session MUD, where the reader becomes the game-player in Redmond’s fictional Irish landscape filled with fantasy images and other MUD players like Zigzag and Gruff. Written like the actual type of a MUD, the poem is a little difficult to read, but worth the effort. Avant-garde and accessible at the same time, in this long poem at least Redmond shows his potential as an up and coming modernist poet. B