The title of this special gathering describes a digital poetics of the nation state that is currently known as Canada; however, the Editors and authors of this issue wish to acknowledge that this land is made up of over 630 First Nation communities, representing more than 50 nations and 50 Indigenous languages. This special gathering’s description of a “Canadian digital poetics” is for the purpose of consistency and not the homogeneity of these diverse communities, nations, and languages, which we do not take for granted. The Editors, Dani Spinosa and Lai-Tze Fan, additionally acknowledge that they have put together this gathering as settlers of the traditional, ancestral, unceded land of the nations of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples.
This special gathering of “Decoding Canadian Digital Poetics” was a long time coming, finding its home in the pioneering digital journal electronic book review due to the generosity of Editor-in-Chief Joe Tabbi and Managing Editor Will Luers, who supported its place in an open-access publishing platform with an international audience.
While this gathering focuses on digital poetics in one country, it is clear that Canada holds a rich variety of transmedial literature, digital poetics, and net art—a critical and creative landscape more recently brought to the attention of global e-literature communities through the 2016 ELO Meeting in Victoria, Canada (co-chaired by Dene Grigar and Ray Siemens) and the 2018 ELO Meeting in Montréal, Canada (co-chaired by Bertrand Gervais, Caitlin Fisher, and others).
The objectives of the Editors Dani Spinosa and Lai-Tze Fan are not only to highlight what has been accomplished in early digital poetics in the 1990s and early 2000s in Canada, but also to represent what new literary voices and digital experiments can be identified in Canadian scholarship and poetics, along with the trajectories that can be traced among seemingly separate histories. We want to show that print and digital writing in Canada were never as disjointed as they may seem. While “CanLit” has been largely specific to literary communities and often dominated by print publishing, we believe strongly that Canadian artists, scholars, and artist-researchers can continue on the path of embracing mediated language arts of all kinds as valid forms of the literary and of literature.