Eric Elshtain sent me a notice a few weeks ago about this little bit of press that Beard of Bees and my recent chapbook publication received during National Poetry Month at Publish Chicago. It’s nice to get some notice.
In a similar vein, I recently received a pingback on my publication announcement on imperfect offering, one of Katherine Parrish’s blogs on digital writings and teaching poetry. The post “digital matters” links to some poetry generating PERL scripts and to a whole bunch of Interactive Fiction (IF) sites, a realm that I had yet to be exposed to. As I keep finding more blogs, articles and books discussing/using digital forms or programs, I become more and more convinced that there is a movement of young writers, academics and writer-academics who are intensely interested in how digitally- or computationally-assisted methods (or whatever term you prefer) can be and are being used in the composition of various literatures.
Personally, I think its about time that more poets and fiction writers start to pick up some of the more accessible programming languages like Python or PERL and start creating their own software. I plan to learn Python and start modifying existing scripts/programs myself as the next stage in my own writing. (You can see the program I had my brother write for me over at my other blog). The possibilities are vast, not only “generated” poetry (a term I do not apply to my own poetry and computer collaborations), but for compositional processes that incorporate the forms, formats, languages, and syntax of new media and text-generating tools into the writer’s engagement with language, the imagination, and the world in all the wealth of their diversity and depth.
Of course we cannot avoid the demands of relevance and insight in our art, but these tools are like any other: they open new possibilities for the artist to engage with the art, and I have found from my own writing experiences that the use of certain programs and processes have opened up my work to a more intense engagement with the political, spiritual and historical realms than the postmodern lyric ever allowed for me. I hope it may have the same result for others.