Enhancing Relationality through Poetic Engagement with PhoneMe

Transmodal Contexts and Interpretive Agency





Interpretive Agency, Relationality, Place-based Poetry, Spoken Word, Social Media, User Experience, Context, Context-Collapse, Reader Response, Multimodality, Transmodality, Aesthetic Literacy, Efferent Stance


This article explores the role of literary user preference and experience of contextualizing information in the interpretive responses to poems on PhoneMe, a social media web-platform and mobile app for place-based spoken word poetry. 137 education students in three Canadian universities participated by completing a survey that asked them to choose one of three stylistically distinct poems and subsequently introduced multimodal contextual information about the poet and location inspiring the poem. Findings indicate a productive tension between the reader/user’s interpretive agency with typographic text and the increasing relationality imposed by indexical, transmodal information, thus helping to update Reader Response theory.

Author Biographies

Dr. Claire Ahn, Queens University

Claire Ahn is an Assistant Professor of Multiliteracies in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. Claire is interested in how information is mediated across different platforms and how this informs our understanding about events, issues, and people. Claire is also interested in genre studies as a way to support media literacy education.

Dr. Natalia Balyasnikova, York University

Natalia Balyasnikova is an Assistant Professor in Adult Education (Faculty of Education, York University). As a community-engaged researcher, Natalia works with older immigrants in large urban contexts to understand factors that impact learning trajectories in later life. In her interdisciplinary work Natalia employs creative research methods, namely found poetry and multimodal storytelling. 

Rachel Horst, University of British Columbia

Rachel Horst is a PhD candidate in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. She is interested in digital literacies, futures literacies, and narrative futuring for cultivating the future(s) imaginary. Her work engages digital arts-based methodologies for investigating the futuring potential of qualitative research.

Dr. Kedrick James, University of British Columbia

Kedrick James is a Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. As Director of the Digital Literacy Centre, he developed innovative educational technologies, including PhoneMe, a social media network for place-based spoken poetry, and Singling, a unique text sonfication software. He specializes in automation of literacy, community-responsive discourse ecologies, language arts in teacher education, creative inquiry, and public engagement. 

Esteban Morales, University of British Columbia

Esteban Morales is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (Canada). His research interests are focused on the intersection between transformative learning, social media, and peace. His work explores how people in Colombia experience social media violence in their everyday lives.

Yuya Takeda, University of British Columbia

Yuya Takeda is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Language and Literacy Education at University of British Columbia. His research interests include philosophy of education, critical media literacy, conspiracy theories, and discourse studies. Please visit yuyapecotakeda.com for more information about his work.

Effiam Yung, University of British Columbia

Effiam Yung is employed at the Department of Language & Literacy Education in the Faculty of Education, UBC in the role of Web Communications Specialist. He works closely with the Digital Literacy Centre team where their interest in technology and digital media aligns with his.




How to Cite

Ahn, C., Balyasnikova, N., Horst, R., James, K., Morales, E., Takeda, Y., & Yung, E. (2023). Enhancing Relationality through Poetic Engagement with PhoneMe: Transmodal Contexts and Interpretive Agency. Language and Literacy, 25(2), 57–83. https://doi.org/10.20360/langandlit29617