CAROL RAISFELD: WORD CLOUDS


Our Experimental section is where we push boundaries. Carol has been playing with Wordle. The creator of this website, Jonathan Feinberg, describes it as a "toy for generating 'word clouds' from text". Input a list of words or a paragraph of text, hit "submit" and the word cloud will appear. Save it as-is, or pick it up in your image-editing software for final adjustment. The size of each word depends on its frequency in your input text, and you can explore different fonts—including accented and Asian characters—colors and text angle. Images may be printed out, saved to an online gallery, or shared.

I learned about Wordle from an English teacher and have been using it to create multilingual signs for my classroom, so when Carol sent me this set of Word Cloud poems, I immediately knew about the kind of decision making that went into creating them. I'm in awe!

"Once your words are created into word clouds it's amazing how they take on a life of their own," writes Carol. "So many effects are possible... it's a one-paste/one-click instant creative gratification tool. Using the same words in a different format will bring about a completely new way seeing what you wrote on a different level. Wordle definitely has mood and attitude. It changes 'just words' into something more meaningful. On the Wordle site it says, 'Before we made pictures with words, we made words with pictures.' Wordle takes you beyond your words into a new realm of creative possibilities. This could be another form of text-image linking where the image is the words and the words are the image!"

If you'd like to try your own, Wordle may be found here:

http://www.wordle.net

 

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