I Name This Feeling

A tool for writing poetry by giving names to your feelings.

Website. GitHub.

July 2020.
Hong Kong; Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Emotions; poetic tech.

[July 2023]

This was initially born out of the summer of 2020 as a way to process the overwhelming and overlapping tidal waves of emotion that I was feeling across many communities. The feelings were big, wild brushstrokes, but it helped to identify them and know, at the peaks, it was rage and rage and rage I was feeling.

Part of the process of building the tool was thinking about how details in the interface of constructing the poem served as metaphors for emotional expression. How does it feel to blow the words up as big as building graffiti, as opposed to scratching them tiny into the underside of a desk? In between the building blocks of feeling words, how do those entangled masses spill over and well up in the conjunctions? What do those pauses between words hold; and, how, too, are we coming in and out of our poems of emotion—emphatically, assuredly, or perhaps breathlessly, elliptically, with more still to be voiced?

[July 2020]

The summer of 2020 has been a demanding one. The emotions have come unpredictably: sometimes it is blinkered life as normal, sometimes it is passionate grief and yearning. This is a e-lit tool for writing emotion poems. It uses only monosyllabic words, which I find to be a useful limitation to curate words as well as to produce a strong evocation, and which originally came out of my thoughts one day of “rage and rage and rage and rage”. It also explores the idea of making the interface poetic too, finding analogies of text editor functions (adding a paragraph break, clearing the page, zooming in) in emotional coping strategies (taking a mental break, clearing your hand, grappling with things up close).