I am working on some new poetry to use within a larger digital poetry work. The idea is to write some lines and paragraphs that can be tagged and then combined into new poems (my very loose plan for now). I am currently using Gnoetry 0.2 (and will soon be using jGnoetry and a simple RiTa function I’ve been working on that implements Markov chaining / n-grams) to write some lines as well, which are then revised and worked into my own writings. The last part of my plan may be to include new sentences/paragraphs/lines that are generated from the rest of the source text and woven into the other text.

I’ll keep you updated on this as it evolves.

The poem below (let’s just think of it as a standalone poem for now, why not) is very similar to a poem I wrote without computer processes several years ago: The Mind, Not Poetry, Is a Machine Made of Words. I will probably include that text into my project as well.


However Sincere It Is Almost Nothing (some fragments)

I’m not the story I’m telling you, however sincere. The checksum confirms receipt of these fragments. You will receive seven packages, a duffle bag full of heads–something like that.

Remember. I’m not taking this all so seriously now no more scraping & screeching about. My fear is I will not be capable of sharing my loving when the shining moment comes.

There is a story here but it is boring. A being who cannot abide its inherent innocence flirts with every transgression it can stomach and ends up nowhere really.

If I produce enough powerful statements will a magical transformation occur? If I write clearly enough, truthfully enough, sharply enough, what will happen? Imagine how the other poets have fared.

Dandelions in our hair and woven around our wrists and ankles. The earth celebrates. But artificial skin can feel enough like the real thing when you want it to.

However sincere, you can find the roots of my voice growing all over these lines, perhaps symbiotic, perhaps parasitic. It is never clear who is devoured and who is fed among these flimsy souls I summon.

There is no set order to these lines. Be quiet and listen. Quieter still. Order does not announces itself but emerges in the branching seams.

Do not tell me about the world anymore. Tell me you just dropped out at last like you always dreamed of. Show me the unstained way, I cannot see with these eyes in the way. Point me to the heart of being.

It is not in the dark and brooding brook, it is not in the dark and bristling body. The grass is shorter and shorter, the rose with an apple inside is almost nothing.

After five years of work, my own Stein Poems project (GNBLFY Jackson Mac Low) is finally complete and published for your viewing pleasure. same: a Stein wreader was written with the Gnoetry and jGnoetry interactive poetry tools; it draws upon the writings of Getrude Stein along with several other source texts (philosophical and Buddhist texts primarily) to construct poems that (I hope) draw closer to the heart of being living.

The chapbook is free, so download it, read it, encourage others to download and read it. Every unique download counts!

My notes section says everything (probably a lot more) than you may care to know about the project and its inception, so I won’t repeat it here.

I hope you will enjoy it and engage with it. I feel writing it has enriched my life; I hope it may do the same for readers too.

While your’re at it, view all of my chapbooks with Beard of Bees.

I’ve been thinking about practices for setting up successful live improvisation for two Ableton Live users. Coming from a background of performing in jazz and wind ensembles, there are significant differences to take into account: the “instruments” here are much more sophisticated and can produce an huge range of sounds, styles and tones. Improvisation must occur on multiple levels as a more textured composition emerges.

From my experiences over the past year improvising with another Ableton Live user, I think I can conclude the following:

  • There is a tendency, even a desire, to be subsumed by the processes happening on the screen. At the top is the music and sound being produced; much as the actions of your improvisation partner are not always clear to you or in your perception, and you only focus on his/her musical contribution, so your own actions can be subsumed under the end musical results. The body and machine are integrated, and the product is what matters most.
  • While one is improvising, one is primarily in a reactionary state and not an active state of thinking. This is true in most forms of improvisation, as years of study and practice on an instrument must make the performance of music as spontaneous as possible. It feels even more reactionary in Ableton, though, as more active forms of production, like the preparation of samples, instruments and other sound palettes are too time intensive to be done in the midst of an improvisation.
  • Because of this, preparation of sound material and some sense of pre-arrangement of different instruments and samples is necessary for one to be successful in a group improvisation with DAW’s like Ableton.

On another note, I have found that working with Ableton Live in some ways mirrors my work with the Gnoetry 0.2 computer poetry program. The sense of being subsumed into the process unfolding on the screen is sometimes quite total. It is a part of the compositional thought process, and my own thought and decision-making is combined with the prosthetic cognitive tool on my screen and at my fingertips via my keyboard and mouse.

I plan to continue this writing on the connections between compositional practices and strategies in different digital art forms on an ongoing basis. My experience alternating between projects in digital music, digital poetry and digital art over the past year has helped me to see some of the similarities and differences clearly enough, I hope, to make some useful connections.

Read this explanation of the Gnoetry 0.2 program and my writing process + aesthetic with it: Confessions of a Cyborg Poet: Gnoetry, eRoGK7, and Human-Computer Poetry Generation @ Sycamore Review Blog.

Writing with Gnoetry is like playing a game called “What is the best poem you can sculpt from this language?” Since I approach it as though it was a game or puzzle, it makes me feel less like the author of the poems I create through it—less an owner and more a participant—so I feel much freer to experiment and less anxious about writing about sensitive or possibly offensive subjects.

Now out from Beard of Bees Press, my collection of “otherwise” poetry, ]] and other 9/11 works, addressing 9/11 in three distinct works which were composed in concert with Google Search, Gnoetry 0.2, and Google News, respectively. The note explains the process and establishes some context for each work.

I hope you will download it, read it, and engage with the political and human issues it raises.

And maybe enjoy it a little too 8~)

Over the past two weeks, I have been working on a chapbook of poems (or maybe poetic compositions would be more accurate) which deal with my feelings and thoughts about September 11th, 2001 on this tenth anniversary in a way that I hope is both artful and tasteful.

I’ve written an introduction and posted the three (somewhat incomplete) parts of the chapbook up at Gnoetry Daily over the past three days under my alter ego username eRoGK7, so I’ll stop introducing the thing here. Know that there will be more of the Gnoetry section (Part 2) going up for a while still.

I hope you enjoy it, and that it makes you think about and reflect upon various important things.

All Posts for ]] and Other 9/11 Works

Said of WikiLeaks: “Could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.” – Time Magazine

Now its a poetic tool too. Over at Gnoetry Daily, Eric Elshtain has initiated the GnoetryLeaks series, what could amount to the most transparent poetry series of all time, using individual leaked U.S. embassy cables from Cablegate @ WikiLeaks as source texts. I’ve joined the project now, and soon we plan to collaborate on several pieces Gnoetry-renga style.

It’s all so exciting!

Read the series so far: GnoetryLeaks @ Gnoetry Daily

Many thanks to Nic Sebastian at Whale Sound for this powerful reading of “I was just as the men in her, the” from a light heart, its black thoughts, my chapbook collaboration with Gnoetry. It is not an easy poem to read, so I commend her for choosing it. As it was written with Heart of Darkness as its source text and post-colonial critiques of power in mind, I hope it will be understood within this context and the context of the other poems in the series. You can read the chapbook and my introductory comments on the text via my page at Beard of Bees Press.

Whale Sound is an audio archiving project that posts readings by Nic Sebastian of contemporary poems that in some way have affected her. I not only find it to be based upon a sound concept (see the About page), but it functions also as a sort of personal audio literary journal. It’s a very exciting project, and obviously one that was simply not possible before web 2.0.

:: Listen To “I Was Just As The Men In Her” at Whale Sound ::

A friend of mine in the PhD program at Purdue kindly asked if I would come into her ENGL 407 class (Introduction to Poetry Writing) and give a lecture on something related to my own experimental work and/or anything relating to Flarf and conceptual writing. I of course accepted.

Read the handout of my Lecture notes here (PDF)

Something which prompted her asking me to do this was her decision to teach the July/August issue of Poetry Magazine to her class the following week. She hoped that I might provide some context for their reading of the Flarf and Conceptual Writing section of that issue, edited by Kenneth Goldsmith, which is online at the Poetry Foundation website.

My lecture was centered on Roland Barthes’ “The Death of the Author,” which none of them had yet encountered in their courses. After a brief discussion of the major division in contemporary English-language poetry between the Mainstream (official verse culture, School of Quietude) and the experimental (avant-garde, post-avant, flarf, conceptual, Oulipo, Language School, etc.) and some relevant vocabulary, we read and discussed excerpts from Barthes’ essay and two other poetics essays by Marjorie Perloff (“The Pleasures of Déjà Dit: Citation, Intertext and Ekphrasis in Recent Experimental Poetry”) and Craig Dworkin (his introduction to The UbuWeb :: Anthology of Conceptual Writing).

We used the ideas generated from this discussion to read several poems that eschew traditional ideas of authorship by various means of appropriation or constraint, all of which are available online:

  1. Andrei Gheorghe – The Longest Poem in the World
  2. Christian Bök – Eunoia
  3. Jen Bervin – Nets
  4. K. Silem Mohammad – Sonnagrams (and some more here)
  5. Eric Elshtain, Gregory Fraser, Chad Hardy, Matthew Lafferty and Eric Scovel – Gnoetry Daily

The discussion went very well, and it seemed that many students in the class had interest in these types of poetry. We briefly discussed at the end the issue of appropriation and whether one is “really writing” when using such techniques. Using Barthes you can respond that even traditionally authored texts are still intertextual and respond to all kinds of cultural texts, even if this appropriation is implicit not explicit as in most of the texts we looked at. Also, using Mac Low’s argument that Pleasure is the purpose of making poetry (read an excerpt from his “Pleasure and Poetry”) or any kind of art, why would the means of textual production exclude it from judgement based upon whether the texts are relevant, meaningful and/or pleasurable to the writer and the audience?

The whole experience highlighted for me even more clearly my desire to teach issues of poetics and experimental poetry to students, and to ask them not simply to admire and replicate the poetry of the dominant Mainstream poetic figures of our times (what creative writing workshops do), but ask them to think about what poetry is, what texts are, what the role of the author is or might be, and how these ideas might factor into the way the write and live in the world. I think a curriculum that focused on the idea of writing first and the craft of writing later would better prepare writers to make timely and original works of art instead of lyrical reproductions of Romanticism superimposed upon our Techno-PoMo landscape.