Lewis LaCook

Lorain, OH, USA

Born in Lorain, Ohio on November 5, 1970, he began writing poetry in his early teens, shortly after the death of his father. At sixteen, Black River Review first published his work; subsequently, small press journals like Whiskey Island, the Coventry Reader, andLost and Found Times published LaCook’s poetry. While attending Kent State University in the mid-to-late nineties, LaCook developed a passion for music, and played in several bands. Chad Mossholder of the ambient techno duo Twine was an early band mate. During this time LaCook continued to write poetry and publish in the small presses, culminating in 2000 when anabasis press published his long poem Cling as a chapbook.

In the late nineties LaCook discovered the internet, and was immediately struck by how easily he might combine his two passions, music and poetry, into a cohesive whole. After the unexpected and tragic death of a close friend in 1999, LaCook barricaded himself in an apartment in Kent, Ohio, and taught himself the rudiments of HTML. It was during this period that LaCook also began collaborating with the poet Sheila Murphy; their long poem, Beyond the Bother of Sunlight, has appeared in excerpts in several small press venues, but has yet to be published in its entirety.

As LaCook’s use of the internet increased, his focus began to shift from using the medium as a multimedia and distributive tool to exploring it for its own sake. In 2001 he left Kent State University to live with his fiancee Renee Vaverchak in Richmond, Virginia. While there, he began teaching himself basic programming skills, and began using Macromedia’s Flash authoring tool to realize his vision of an interactive hypermedia poetry.

His early works in this genre met with some success; Rhizome.org began accepting his works into their artBase in 2002, and online venues like CTheory Multimedia, Cauldron and Net, Artifacts at Web Del Sol, 3rd Bed and Slope presented his works on their web sites. LaCook continues to work in a networked medium, reveling in the ability it gives him to create work that allows for the collaboration between the user and the work itself.

http://www.lewislacook.org/