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Poetry in the Post-Now
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, New York, NY
May 8th, 2010, 12pm-2pm

This is going to be an amazing event. There will be performances, demonstrations, installations and readings from two ITP classes this semester: my Reading and Writing Electronic Text class and Nancy Hechinger’s Writing and Reading Poetry in the Digital Age.

This event is intended to be a showcase for the many text-, language- and poetry-driven projects at ITP, which are sometimes unsuited to the noisy glamor of the regular ITP show (which you should also attend!). I have been overwhelmed by the quality of student projects in both classes, and I’m excited to see them presented and performed.

A sampling of projects from my class: Ramones lyrics interpreted as code, Semaphore Hero, “tagrostics” (procedurally generated acrostics built from word frequency analysis), reading the Ramayana with regular expressions, procedurally generated Vogon poetry, poems composed by weather conditions, self-conversation mangled by Markov chains, physical interfaces for remixing movie subtitles, and more! It may not actually be possible for there to be a better way for you to spend your Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the poster in PDF format. Promotional materials designed by Ted Hayes.

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Text lathe prototype from Adam Parrish on Vimeo.

This is a little prototype for a textual interface that I came up with last week after receiving my nanoKONTROL. (I saw Jörg Piringer use one of these in a live electronic sound poetry performance last year at E-Poetry, and I knew I had to have one.) The idea is that two knobs on the controller determine how much text is cut from either side of a text fed to the program on standard input; another knob controls how fast lines of text are read in and displayed. It’s a very simple mapping, but I’m pleased with the results so far.

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Here’s the latest iteration of Nick Montfort‘s ppg256 series, an ever-growing set of succinct poetry generators written in Perl. This one happens to be programmed to output to an LED sign, which is currently installed at Axiom (a Boston-area gallery for new and experimental media).

I would love to see how the piece looks and works in the context of a gallery. But more than anything I’d like to see some video: how the code manages the style and movement of the text can’t be anything but vital to the understanding of the piece.

Check out the thread at netpoetic for more photos and some interesting discussion.

In the most recent entries to the ppg256 series, Nick has started to explore the generation not just of abstract poetic form, but other speech genres as well: ppg256-3 generated tiny narratives (“the__bothat and one__orcman cut_out”), while ppg256-4 generates absurd imperatives (“delap the dappap, boss”). Like the other entries in the ppg256 series, ppg256-4 one is concerned with constructing plausible English words from minimalist parts; unlike the others, ppg256-4 is okay with (and even seems to revel in) neologism.

I’ve embedded some of the output of the (non-LED version) of ppg256-4 after the jump, in order to give a bit better sense of the program’s flavor. Read the rest of this entry »

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The procedure: scrape Twitter’s public timeline and find rhyming couplets. The effect is striking: even though the juxtaposition of tweets is essentially random, the presence of rhyme gives them a strange cohesion.

The only obvious weirdness comes when the procedure tries to rhyme emoticons, as in the following couplet:

Finished a paper for class and time to relax. Yay me!!
Showered and feeling good :) How are y’all smelling? :b

On second thought, I like that: it’s as though the procedure suggests you read the emoticon aloud in a cutesy way (“time to relax, yay me! / … how are y’all smelling? colon lowercase bee”).


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Hulu – The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien: Shatner Reads Palin’s Tweets.

Here we have an example of politician talk satirically repurposed as poetry. The practice itself is nothing new (see Donald Rumsfeld), but Shatner’s performance here is a cut above.

These tweets form the text as performed: “From sealife…”, “Tourists from across…”, “Awesome Alaska night…”, “Left Unalakleet warmth…”. It’s interesting that Conan claims the text to be “verbatim,” even though it’s a collage of many non-contiguous tweets.

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