From Fluorescent Cocktails to Pure Cement

Martha Deed & Millie Niss (2002-2009)

Millie Niss and I collaborated on a series of projects, most of them involving poetry even if one has to stretch the definition a bit, for seven years.  During that time our working relationship went through many stages, some of these relevant to others who collaborate.  We dealt with competitive attitudes, uneven skill sets, personality similarities and differences, and shifting working conditions.  As time went on, Millie's struggle with Behcets Disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks blood vessels anywhere in the body, also played a larger role in the projects we chose and also in the ways we worked together.  In addition, we worked our way through the complication that we are mother and daughter.  Millie was the daughter.

By any measure, our collaboration was a successful enterprise.  We have a nice string of publication credits to show for our efforts, including Iowa Review on the Web (twice) and inclusion in various archives, including the Electronic Literature Collection.  Millie was the techie of our team, and her work has been cited in such places as Rachel Greene's Internet Art (Thames and Hudson World of Art, 2004) and Kathryn Hayles Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary (Notre Dame, 2008).  In October 2009, Millie and I presented a new project "Erewhon 2.0" involving prose poems/flash fiction at the fourth &Now Conference of Innovative Writing & the Literary Arts.  We were among very few non-academic teams who were invited to present.

Scarcely a month later, Millie Niss died of complications of the H1N1 virus.



     The fourth &Now Conference of Innovative Writing & the Literary Arts: Buffalo 2009 would be Millie Niss’s and my final collaboration after seven years of working together. By any account, the collaboration had been successful.  We had created  more than twenty pieces together and published most of them in such “respectable” venues as Iowa Review on the Web, Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1, Museum of the Essential and Beyond, SCOPE 2006 (New York City), and  Our collaboration contributed to our individual work as well.

     Of course, we were also greedy, always thinking about our next project and the project after that. I doubt that either one of us had an intuition that our career as collaborators would end 10 miles from home in Buffalo, NY, at a conference where co-presenters included some of our favorite post-modern writers and poets, including Penguin poet Stephanie Strickland, author Percival Everett, poet Steve McCaffrey, and writer web artist Nathaniel Mackey.

Douglas on the Dole

Pink slips slide down the skyscraper’s facade thrown by angry redundant workers who are as useless to their employers as a Sherman Tank in the battlefields of the twentieth century. More useless even. At least a tank can squash tendrils of the enemy’s grass whereas a falling pink slip is only litter on the green earth, punishable by fine just like when you walk Fido without his pooper scooper on the city streets. No pony tails allowed in the unemployment line after Douglas’s failed attempt to strangle himself using the purple hair of the woman in front of him, the cornflowers in her hair clashing color-wise but they were a cast-off from Lenore’s corsage and so could not be omitted. Smoothing her purple locks, the woman fell backwards on Douglas who did not choke but instead asked her for her phone number in order to refute the libelous charges his step-daughter leveled at him about not being assertive enough to ask out even a sanitation worker or the elevator girl at the Center for the Study of Bald Men where Douglas used to earn his living as a test subject. – MN

--from "News from Erewhon"

     Our &Now presentation acceptance was for “News from Erewhon,” originally published by Iowa Review on the web in 2005. “News from Erewhon” is a series of braided texts, based upon the rapid introduction of words drawn at random from such disparate sources as Kenneth Koch and The New York Times.  

     This technique, by design was simple enough for others to replicate. We did little editing of the texts, beyond correcting spelling and grammar.  In the course of eight paired prose poems, we discovered that we had created a surreal world with its own conventions and social context.



“Pink slips with lace? or the pink slip of ‘goodbye’?” Priscilla inquired with all the subtlety of a Sherman Tank when she came back from lunch an hour late that Friday afternoon from the lingerie sale at Freedman’s on the Mall. Not even  tendrils of responsibility snaking down the street could bring her back before she was done, and now the Earth shook beneath her well-shod toes in pink leather thongs as she awaited the answer from Pony Tail, her boss. “Not even blue corn flowers will reveal my meaning, he said to her, sneering with his ears, his hairy hands smoothing his non-existent beard. “It’s the twenty-first century now and up to you to see with your mind’s eye what I am thinking without refuting my shirt or tie. Surely,  I am the center of your mind and heart – am I not? The feather floating on the  swampy surface of your rotting soul?” –  MD

--from "News from Erewhon"


     Next, Millie constructed an interface for our texts. I cleaned the code of typos, keyed in long strings of arrays, and generally performed the boring tasks of moving Erewhon from flat text to a multimedia web installation with animation and interactive features.  

     Thus, we didn’t need to do a thing for this conference – except to show up.  And – showing up was going to be a very big deal.

     But that was not enough for Millie. Her idea, which appealed to me immediately, was to throw a brickbat at the assumption that post-modern poetry exists only within itself, and does not link to anything outside of the immediate text, whether poetry or fiction.  “News from Erewhon” is replete with outside influences.

     Our presentation would build upon these linkages, utilizing techniques that would blur the line between reader and writer.  Millie would build an engine that attendees could take home to use for further experimentation.  Thus, “Erewhon 2.0” was born in early October 2009.

Click to View Illustration #1

     “Erewhon 2.0” required a viewer that would allow readers to explore levels of links in our texts as well as a utility for visitors to contribute texts.   Millie had often worked with viewers, which are specialized interfaces. Interfaces help readers to navigate within an installation.  Viewers are designed to enhance a reader’s understanding of the texts.  For the original Erewhon, Millie had built a movie marquee viewer.    For bilingual projects, she designed her own simultaneous translation viewers.   

     My poem, “A Nice Glass of Rum,” begins:

    If you insist on calling  a blue heron a train strike

     “Blue heron” links  to “Bird Watching” as a hobby, then to bird watching as a childhood family activity, and then to the brother who tormented me on  bird walks, etc.  Each of these texts, in turn, suggested other subjects and other texts.   Previously, Millie had built a zoomviewer in which links at each level were arranged around concentric circles (  

Click to View Illustration #2

     Zoomviewer can be used as a chapbook- or story-maker.  In fact, its original use in “Reframing Cheektowaga” was exactly that: one poem leading to another until we had written dozens of poems, all related in some way to one of several themes. The external .xml files were complicated to work with.  Although mistakes didn’t corrupt the entire installation, .xml mistakes did freeze the program.

     For “Erewhon 2.0,” writers must use one of the original Erewhon word lists to maintain the literary constraints of the texts.  To simplify text entry, Millie created Makezoom for the computer-naive poet (that would be me).  This utility collects the poet’s text, translates it into .xml code, and inserts it at the correct position in the external file.

Click to View Illustration #3

     Makezoom broke new ground for us.  It meant that readers could become authors.  This capability extended “News from Erewhon” into a third dimension, i.e. from viewing and navigating (first two dimensions) to altering the site (third dimension).

     A detailed demonstration of Makeview would be too lengthy for a 20-minute presentation. However, we could announce it at our presentation, upload to our website, and it would be accessible to others.  We agreed that this feature would not go live until after the conference.  

     While Millie and I checked and re-checked the “Erewhon 2.0" to make certain the code was clean and that the presentation would be seamless at Hallwalls in Buffalo, NY, I negotiated suitable rooms for us at the Hyatt, parking for the wheelchair van in the hotel’s traffic circle, and arranged for oxygen service to be delivered to Millie’s room.   

     After seven years of working together, we had managed to overcome some of our earlier conflicts due to disparity in our computer programming skills.  Millie longed for someone to brainstorm with, to clarify the construction of code, to work out mathematical dilemmas.

     I was not that person, but I was the person closest at hand.  Furthermore, we shared a passion for writing, for poetry, and a rather wacked-out sense of humor.  So, we would try anyway.  Our early attempts too often disintegrated into:

    Millie: I can’t believe you can be so stupid.

    Me: I can’t believe I raised such a rude daughter.

     Our collaboration was born of circumstance, but perhaps relevant to others who work together over long periods of time.  We began in 2002  when  Millie phoned to say she was working on a piece for an intriguing web site in Brazil.  Regina Celia Pinto, a graphics artist from Rio de Janeiro, had begun developing a cyber-museum, similar to a bricks and mortar building, but located entirely on the web.  The site was sophisticated and inviting.  Pinto sought work from around the world.  Most of the accompanying texts were in both Portuguese and English.

     Regina’s Museum had an attic.  She wanted to fill that attic with stories and images of international web artists’ first computers.  Millie had been accepted as one of those web artists.  In 2002, she already had a track record of ten years’ worth of entries on the web, including her own website begun in 2000.  Now Millie needed my help.  Did I still have her Vic-20 three moves later?  

     I did.  I photographed the computer, and when our cat jumped onto the still colorful box, I put the cat into Millie’s submission as well.

Click to View Illustration #4

     Cats were a contentious issue between us.   Millie’s poetry publications dated back to the late 1990s; mine to the mid-1960's.  But – my record included a gap from the early 1970's until 2000.  During that gap, Millie had graduated from nursery school and kindergarten and obtained academic training in poetry via Kenneth Koch at Columbia University and a variety of poets at Emerson College’s Creative Writing MFA Program.

     In the early 2000's, our tastes reflected the fashion of our respective educations.  This led to spirited debates, which I captured in a poem of that era:

Oh No she says
You read a poem
about a cat at open mic
your first time out? they’ll hate
you even if you’re good consign
 you to the cat box of amateur for life
hail your work with cat calls and derision
a cat fight you will lose no matter where you publish
   Poetry itself cannot bail you out of this transgression your cat
 for goddsake as your daughter I will never live it down Poetics Police
 will grab you from your bed at night and jail you in a catafalque of dead verse


I did not write about a cat, say I
but rather about the hairball of a cat as metaphor
for seeking the Holy Grail and expressing our family’s faith
the more wisdom that you seek the more excrement you will find

You did she cries
there can be no hairball
without a cat an old lady’s pet
fed by someone who types poems
on her father’s cast iron Woodstock

 Martha Deed from "Cat Poetics", 2002

     It was not  lost on me that the individual who objected to cats as subjects of poems proceeded to write a cat poem of her own, which was immediately published while mine languished in a binder.  Entitled  “Our Honeymoon in a Havana Cabana (and surrounding fields) by Melvin Eschatto-Smith, Official Feline Pest Control Officer, The Roman Sewers,” the poem contained such lines as

is it you I have sought
all these years

in the                 dentist’s chair
of existence,


        Millie Niss, "Muse Apprentice Guild", 2003


     The cat on the computer box was memorialized in “Attic,” a hypertext piece that included our first collaboration, although my sole contribution was photographs. “Attic” whet my appetite for more involvement.

     Meanwhile, Millie’s work was becoming increasingly complex as her health gradually deteriorated for as yet unknown reasons.  Our early collaborations were often based either on my doing repetitive tasks so that she could conserve her energy, or on carrying out her instructions.  Her knowledge base was far beyond me, but by working with her, mine was gradually improving to the point that I began creating publishable web works of my own, usually relying on the most basic techniques of simple hyperlinking to create interactivity.

     My ability to create miniature videos and to critique my still photography also improved the longer we worked together.  But we were also mother and daughter, and that relationship both complicated and extended our collaborations.  The daughter’s technical expertise could balance the mother’s greater power in the personal relationship.  Had the power and the technical expertise resided in one of us, I doubt the collaboration would have endured for seven years.

     We were self-conscious about our family tie.  We discussed whether we should disclose it.  After all, even post-modern writers have preconceptions about mothers and daughters.  We didn’t want to pitch ourselves into a sentimental camp where our collaboration would be romanticized.  We didn’t want to be dismissed as an unfortunate anachronism either.

     Our struggles with this issue are illustrated in an early collaboration, “Penumbra,” in which we adopted the most syrupy version of mothers and daughters that we could imagine in order to blow the concept apart.  Sub-titled “A Mother-Daughter Anthology of Poems and Photographs,” the pages featured caricatures of both mother and daughter, along with sappy commentaries,

One day...
after a particularly lovely kayak ride on the Erie Canal, a journey which began in my own back yard, I decided to share my joy with my daughter, a poet. Perhaps this simple poem of praise would inspire her to take up this wholesome activity. After all, like many people of a literary bent, she's excessively bookish and would clearly benefit from the warm climate of our Buffalo Springs and Summers. Children, I find, however insistent upon their independence, often adopt parental habits. I wished to pass on to her my passion for daily exercise in the glorious outdoors.


     Thus, I introduced one of the dirtiest poems I have ever written: a poem totally unsuitable for a child under the age of 30.

     As the piece moves through three vulgar poems by the mother to four vulgar poems by the daughter, the mother’s narration continues in clueless, sanctimonious fashion:


One day...
my daughter, as young children are prone to do, puts my parental philosophies to the test. I, who vowed never to trifle with my child's creativity, am faced with this: a scurrilous and libelous (because untrue) attribution to a person no longer in our lives. I, who also believe children should be allowed to speak their minds, find it difficult sometimes when mine speaks hers.


     Her poem, "Six", begins:

    My mother's lover had a giant schlong

     Although “Penumbra” was never published on the web, many of the poems have been published elsewhere.  Creating it moved us into a collaboration of greater equality.  As I gained more confidence in working in cyberspace and both of us continued to write poetry, we found that although we frequently looked at poetry very differently, we often were drawn to the same poetic techniques.  Millie’s ability to translate these interests and explorations into computer programs took us to new places.

     This was especially the case with our collection of Oulipo poems and poetry games, which we tackled together over a period of years.  Millie and I both enjoyed working with constraints.  Sometimes we would work with a traditional constraint just to grease the gears of our own imaginations.  Eventually, these poetry games evolved into a series of web pieces with varying degrees of collaboration.  All of the programming was performed by Millie, some of it so complicated mathematically that it has been cited in books on digital experimentation, e.g. Katherine Hayles (2008) Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary, University of Notre Dame, Pp. 143-44.

     Our Oulipoems were published by Iowa Review on the Web in 2004.  This collection consists of a series of poetry-making engines, all of which were made by Millie.  The resulting poems include a language-based poem in which the visitor selects the tone she wishes to use along two dimensions: simple-minded - pretentious and sociological - melodramatic.  The text changes as the viewer moves indicators along these two dimensions.  There is also an antiwar sound poem with equal partnership between Millie and me.  The most complicated engine is built on the theory of a Rubics Cube. Millie did the math, and I wrote most of the texts as we sat in our favorite Lebanese restaurant, stoking our inspiration with Turkish coffee and baklava.  All of the pieces can be scrambled simultaneously or one can manipulate each row or column independently by using the tabs. This collection was included in Volume 1 of the Electronic Literature Collection, 2006.

     “Oulipoems” and “News from Erewhon” were both complicated, major installations requiring months of concentrated work.  Millie was physically hampered most of the time while she worked on the coding for these pieces.  Of necessity, part of my “collaboration” was to take on most of the household tasks and food preparation, so that she could make the programs.  This was an aspect of collaboration that disturbed both of us.  I took advantage of our “down times” as a team to continue working on my own internet skills, and I was able to begin publishing multi-media work of my own, often based on extended research I was doing on a family murder in Western New York.  (See “Aftershocks” (reviewed by Edward Picot, ) in 2005  and “Missing” ( ) in 2007.  I was also publishing more videos on the web, which meant that I was getting better at using programs like Premiere and Quicktime Pro along with audio software.

     Meanwhile, the mystery of Millie's illness was solved in late 2005 and early 2006.  After many ER visits and several hospitalizations, she was diagnosed with Behcets Disease.  Behcets is an autoimmune disease that attacks the circulatory system.  Inflammation of the blood vessels can occur anywhere in the body, although if you are fortunate, it manages to confine itself to attacks on mouth, throat , genitals, and skin along with severe fatigue and joint pain.

     Millie’s experience with Behcets was not to be so fortunate.  Within several months of her diagnosis, she was forced to move back home full-time, so that she could have help with “activities of daily living” like food preparation, laundry, vacuuming, and dusting.

     Once I could create multimedia installations like “Missing,” with less and less dependence upon Millie's technical expertise, Millie and I began to consider a collaboration that would put us on even footing both technologically and artistically.  In 2007, we were just coming off a disappointing collaboration with a total of four artists, which Millie had organized, that fell apart after six months of work when Millie’s Behcets coupled with medication error, knocked her flat.  Demoralized by her inability to turn work in on deadline for the first time ever, Millie was ready to consider a project that either one of us could handle alone if necessary.

     Tumblr blogs were just emerging as a practical option for presenting a mix of work: texts, photos, videos, and links.  We already had the Sporkworld website ( as a repository of finished work, links to our publications, and a community blog with formal essays, reviews and multi-author projects.  Millie’s Spork character had become our “brand,” and many of our pieces, whether collaborative or not, were published under Sporkworld.

     Since Millie was now away from the computer for a month or more at a time, we were both concerned about keeping Spork active in some consistent manner.  Thus the Sporkworld Microblog emerged as our longest joint project.

     Millie set up the Sporkworld Microblog.  Both of us tested the site in December 2007 and January 2008.

     And then I jumped into the water without a life jacket in February 2008 when I embarked on a month-long road trip from Niagara Falls, New York to Sierra Vista, Arizona and back.  Each night, I posted to the microblog.  Millie posted from New York City where she was cared for by her father.  We also emailed extensively, but – finally – I wasn’t asking as many “how to” questions, and we could focus on content: poems, photos, and videos of the countryside during the 2008 presidential campaign juxtaposed with the narrowing of Millie’s life as Behcets disease was exerting a stronger hold on her.

     I was aiming for a collection of poems written along the route, and I tested drafts on the Microblog along with posting photographs and commentaries.  Millie offered valuable editorial suggestions.

     Through 2008 and well into 2009, the Sporkworld Microblog functioned as we hoped.  We did small projects, posted them on the Microblog, and kept Millie’s presence on the web along with developing mine.  Behind the scenes, we were struggling to find better management of Millie’s illness, now complicated by serious Secondary Cushing’s Syndrome and vision impairment.  After giving up on treatment in the Buffalo area, we sought consultations at Cleveland Clinic and eventually moved most of her medical care 75 miles away to Rochester, New York.

     Gradually, although she was virtually bedridden and nearly always in intractable pain, Millie regained sufficient energy to suggest that we send a proposal to the organizers of the Fourth &Now conference to be held in Buffalo near our home in North Tonawanda in the Fall of 2009.  We submitted “News from Erewhon” – and our proposal was accepted.

     This was a presentation which – if necessary – I could deliver alone if Millie was too sick to attend our own program.  (Behcets is marked by unpredictability.  You can wake up in the morning expecting to do something constructive and find yourself in the ER with a bizarre symptom before lunch.)

     Whether it was the latest medication adjustment, or the excitement of the approaching conference, or simply a slight remission of the Behcets, Millie was able to work steadily in the two weeks before the conference, creating “Erewhon 2.0.”  The work was solid, and Millie was using new techniques, feeling that her brain was finally waking up.

     Still, we took the precaution of putting our talk – “News from Erewhon to Erewhon 2.0” –  on a series of .html pages in case I needed to do the presentation.  We wouldn’t know until two hours before the presentation whether Millie would make it or not.  In the days immediately prior to the conference, she struggled with increasing infirmity even as she enjoyed mental alertness that had eluded her for months.

     Millie appeared at our presentation.  By agreement, she gave most of the presentation.  The presentation was well-received.  

     The days in the hotel were difficult for both of us.  Doors were particularly vexing.  In her power chair, Millie could neither open nor close any door in the hotel.  In elevators, she was unable either to enter or exit without having the doors close on her.  Consequently, I found myself reduced to “doorperson” at the conference.  This was uncomfortable and exhausting for both of us.

     At home, we depended upon aides to assist Millie daily.  At the conference, there was only me.  Neither of us were getting much sleep.  But we were both enjoying being out in circulation once more.  There was another conference coming up.  We would have new work for that one.  We already knew what it would be, and we had six months to prepare.  Even with the usual down times, we could do it.  And this time, we would make certain we had more physical help at the hotel – and new batteries for the power chair.

     Two days after the conference, I contracted swine flu.  I spent eight days in bed too tired to do anything I didn’t want to do, but well enough to want food at regular intervals.  I had had a swine flu predecessor in 1957 and had spent weeks in bed on the third floor of the house, nursing pleurisy, while the elderly family doctor climbed the stairs every few days to see how I was.  This episode was much less serious, just as the TV health commentators had promised.

      A week later – we don’t know exactly when – Millie became ill.  Less than a week after that, she was rescued by the local fire department and ambulance corps.  She suffered respiratory arrest shortly after arrival at a local ER.  It was out of the question to transfer her to the regional hospital 75 miles away in Rochester; she would not survive the trip.

     She died of complications of Swine Flu four weeks later.

     And the collaboration?  “Erewhon 2.0” will likely remain a beam in Millie’s mind’s eye.  The Microblog – so far – has continued.  Time will tell whether it can maintain its “sporky” identity without taking on a ghostly quality.

     In seven years of collaboration, we grew as web artists and as writers.  The collaboration with Millie posed challenges for me to improve my independent work as well as to grow toward more equal footing as web designer.  Together we worked through the complications of being mother and daughter to being collaborators who happened to have an important family relationship.  Together we gained considerable credit for work performed together and individually.  Together we managed to encourage each other’s freedom despite increased physical dependence dictated by illness.

     I once commented to Millie that I suspect she is one of the top 100 pioneering web artists.  She was offended.  “You don’t like my work?” she demanded.  “Well, I’m your mother.  I don’t want to brag,” I said.  “I know that would offend you.”

     In the last years of her life, Millie was often frustrated that she wasn’t performing the complicated and sophisticated work of “Oulipoems.”   With “Erewhon 2.0,” she felt she was back on her game.   

     In seven years of working together conclusions I had reached in a 2005 essay remained true:

We found that a good test of successful collaboration with texts was when both of us laid claim to the cleverest parts. . .  We found that  successful collaboration involves a synergy – when Millie and I were "clicking," we were zanier and more experimental than either one of us was individually. (

     Finally, in seven years of working together, as Millie said,  

It helps not to take ourselves too seriously even while we are serious about our work. It’s a danger, when collaborating with a loved one, to put the work ahead of the person, or the person ahead of the work, neither of which is the correct attitude (


* * *

Martha Deed and Millie Niss Collaborations
An Annotated List

Sporkworld ( ).  Created by Millie.  Martha joined in 2002. Primarily Millie’s project except for Martha’s web page which Martha learned to manage independently after Millie helped to set it up.  Active.

Attic ( ).  Millie is sole author.  Martha contributed photographs for the piece and worked on writerly tasks such as proof-reading.  This minor role piqued Martha’s interest in learning how to use the web for her writing.

Lunch ( ).  Early animation and political satire.  Millie did most of the creating.  Martha made design suggestions and contributed to the text. This piece was undertaken as a hands-on project to teach Martha rudimentary skills in web design.  Unpublished.

Deedsquare ( ).  Martha is sole author and designer.  Millie taught her how to construct this interactive piece, which involves photographs, text, and audio. Part of  a collaboration of six or more web artists.  Unpublished.

Penumbra: A Mother-Daughter Anthology of Poetry and Photographs. ( ).  Millie and Martha designed this multi-media send-up of a sentimental mother-daughter relationship coupled with a mother’s clueless pride in a daughter who is violating her mother’s values.  Includes 7 poems.  Several of the poems were published separately, but this hypertext piece is unpublished.

Research and Dire Predictions. ( ).  Millie did the programming.  Martha wrote the text.  Both worked out design issues for videos and sound.  Unpublished as web art. The poem appeared in Stirring, 2003.

Three Statements ( ).  Martha is sole author, but Millie taught her how to do the animations and helped to set up the piece.  Published on, a Yale website (now off-line)   

Toilet ( ).  Animation.  Martha did voiceover.  Millie did most of the animation.  Published on Museum of the Essential and Beyond That.

I am a Republican ( )   First video made by Martha and Millie.  Martha did the filming and audio.  Millie edited the original version and converted to .mov  file in 2008 to put it on the Sporkworld Microblog, January 13, 2008 for the 2008 presidential election thread on the microblog. Published.

Orpheus and Eurydice Do Their Laundry. ( )     Text by Joseph and Donna McElroy. Programming and Design by Millie Niss.  Slave Martha Deed.  Part of a larger collaboration.  Linked to ( )

Oulipoems: Interactive Electronic Poetry. ( ).  Millie did all of the programming and most of the design.  Martha did some of the text and participated in audio track.  This collection is included in the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1 ( .

Up to No Good ( ).  Millie developed the concept of demonstrating the meaning of prepositions visually, Martha did the filming and the music soundtrack. Both performed editing functions, Martha did the voiceover.  Exhibited at SCOPE 2006 in New York City

Usability Chronicles ( ).  Parody of rigid constraints for building web pages with animations, text, hypertext, and video, along with games invented by both authors.  Millie did the technical work and also provided the reference information on usability principles.  Martha and Millie contributed equally to the extreme poor taste displayed in this piece. Unpublished.

Emoticons ( ).  Millie’s design.  A rebellion against “cutesy” emoticons that were popping up all over the web.  A true test of Martha’s tolerance.  Deservedly unpublished.

Jewel on the Erie Canal
( ).  Martha and Millie both took photographs and worked on the story board.  Millie did most of the editing with Premiere Pro.  Exhibited at Carnegie Art Center in North Tonawanda, NY and at the 2006 SCOPE art exhibit in New York City.

News from Erewhon ( ).  Eight pairs of prose poetry/flash fiction.  Millie designed and created the interface, Martha and Millie participated equally in the writing.  Martha worked on repetitive coding tasks.

Reframing Cheektowaga ( ).  Consisted of an interactive and hypertext collection of photographs and poems about the Town of Cheektowaga in Western New York coupled with a satirical (with serious intent) public affairs announcement video, A Hecatomb in Cheektowaga.  The full installation is unpublished.  However, Hecatomb has been widely distributed on the web (,com_comprofiler/task,userProfile/user,248/Itemid,87/lang,en/ ) and was exhibited at Scope 2006 in New York City.

Sheep Apnea ( ) .  Millie did the programming.  Sound and texts were done together.

Breakfast ( ).  Martha created this video.  Millie was a character in the video and gave editorial advice.  Published on

Sporkworld Microblog ( ).  Equal participation.  Active.

Voting ( ). Video made by Millie of casting her absentee ballot in the 2008 presidential election.  Dialog by Martha and Millie. Published 2009.

Erewhon 2.0 and the talk “From News of Erewhon to Erewhon 2.0" ( ) .  A series of texts and related projects.  Millie initiated most of the ideas for Erewhon 2.0, which was presented at the &Now Conference, Buffalo, NY, October 2009.  Millie’s work included creation of a new Erewhon 2.0 microblog ( ).  Martha contributed texts, editorial input, and she did all of the legwork, including entering large repetitive blocks of code.


Martha Deed lives on the north bank of the Erie Canal in North Tonawanda, NY, where she looks for trouble. Her chapbook, 65×65, was published by Peter Ganick’s small chapbook project (December 2006). Recent publications include: Iowa Review on the Web (with Millie Niss), Shampoo, Helix, The Dudley Review, Unlikely Stories, Gypsy, and many others. Her poems have been anthologized in collections published by Iowa University Press, Red Hen Press, XEXOXIAL, and others. She maintains links to her published work at .