I adore it, I need it.  I bow and paw.  I leak all over
the sheets just thinking about it—Ooh let me worship your
beautiful ass!

                                 Earlier, I told her I loved her.  I told her she
was so gloriously dark.

                                                       .   .   .

                                                     It’s Saturday night.  The slick of
softened water clings to our skins.  

                                                                            Our bath­room is all black
tile and black grout, black faucets, obsidian backsplash, with
black lights and black towels, black soap.

                                                                                          She replied that
she liked me because I’m dark too.

                                                       .   .   .

                                                                            Every time I think it has
settled, it fizzles up again, monstrous phallus silos dotting
the seeded fields.

                                         What is it exactly, that announces itself
so obscenely, like Nocturne in E flat major, at half speed and
inverted, over­driven and filtered through a resonator, blasting
from a loud­speaker?

                                               It’s true, I can’t look right at it or it
blurs defensively and stings me back into oblivion.  And I’m so
fucking tired of oblivion.

                                                       .   .   .

                                                         Take me out into the woods to-
night.  Tie me to a tree so it’s rough bark tears into my back.
Tease me, use me, pleasure me to ecstasy.

                                                       .   .   .

                                                                                            What does it take
to feel alive again?  I’ve been numb so long I can’t remember.  

She’s blacked out in the bathroom again, slumped against
the shower’s dark tinted glass.  I push the door open, lift her
up, hold her until she comes to.

                                                                      It’s okay.  I’m here.  I’ve
got you.  I’ve got you.

This is just a simple post asking a simple question (and some related ones): Where is electronic poetry / digital poetry / e-poetry / generative poetry / computational poetry being published online? Are there any journals or blogs specializing in it or making space for it? Or is it all scattered here and there and difficult to find?

And, just to be clear, the poetry I’m concerned with here is that which is composed in concert with generative or algorithmic processes, remixes existing or online text (scraped via APIs, for example) to some degree, is interactive, or is visually designed/implemented with coding or software that animates or automates some part of the work. It could also be some kind of sound poetry that uses filters or automation in some artistic way. (Yikes, is that actually clear? I hope so.) Basically, not just regularly (human-only) written poetry put in a JPEG or posted in any of the usual ways to the internet.

I pose this question as a long-time participant in this creative “genre,” if it can be called that (perhaps “endeavor” or “approach” would be better), who was heavily involved for many years with one of the few engaged group blogs that I know of that centered around computational poetry, Gnoetry Daily, and has published three chapbooks of digital/computational poetry.

I ask as an avid reader of new books and works of digital/computational poetry, as well as other areas of digital art like generative art, which I am also become more and more engaged in. There are frequently a couple of new books of poetry written by or in collaboration with computer processes published every year or so. (I plan to review a couple of recent books from Anteism Books, for example, in the next few months.)

I mean, of all people, shouldn’t I be capable of answering this question? I have Google, right? And many keywords and combinations. But they tend to just find electronic poetry centers/repositories, electronic/digital journals of non-computational poetry, or “digital poetry activities” for students. And some cool scholarly articles on “computational creativity” sometimes. That’s all great stuff, but not what I want: to be inspired, to see that there is a community of writers working in this vein, perhaps to find collaborators.

But I am isolated in my apartment, and just crawling and scratching my way out of several years of life shit / depression / writer’s block / dark night of the soul. And I can be such a stubborn loner. I can’t do everything alone, right?

So, hey, if any of you other electronic poetry enthusiasts out there stumble upon this, please, Please, PLEASE, drop of comment or link or something. I’d love to make a list.

And shameless promotion is highly encouraged 🙂

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.

Go to the Converging Stanzas Generator!

I put this together over a year ago as a coding exercise and then just forgot about it. Since I first got Jackson Mac Low’s collection of new and selected poems Thing of Beauty in 2008, the poem “Converging Stanzas” has fascinated me. I think it’s the entropy at it’s core, the slow decay, like William Basinksi’s Disintegration Loops in poem form.

The materials and method used for the poem were detailed in the following note by Mac Low that was included in Thing of Beauty:

“Converging Stanzas” was composed by chance operations utilizing the random-digit table A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates (Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1955) and The Basic English Word List. …

In composing “Converging Stanzas” I used random digits to determine a stanza structure consisting of eight lines comprising successively five, three, one, eight, four, two, two, and seven words. When composing the first stanza, I filled this 32-word 53184227 structure with words drawn from the Basic English list by chance operations using random digits. The 32 places of the second stanza were filled with words from the first stanza by random-digit chance operations, those of the third stanza with words from the second, and so on. The method used worked in such a way that the number of different words in successive stanzas gradually declined. The poem ended with the sixtieth stanza, in which the number of different words had “converged” to one word, which occupies all 32 places of that stanza. (236)

It was all pretty straightforward and very fun to figure out. Much easier to do with code than manually consulting a random number table. I was able to download a copy of Ogden and Richard’s The Basic English Word List, and then it was just a matter of coding in a variable stanza pattern for the stanzas and letting random selection do the rest. I decided for each generation of the program to randomly choose a stanza length of between 6 and 10 lines, then create a unique stanza pattern for the lines of word lengths between 1 and the stanza length. 

I opted to use a slider to move through the stanzas because I like the visual impact of moving quickly through the stanzas and seeing the word diversity drop down to the remaining single word. Try it for yourself, it’s fun!

I hope you enjoy this little novelty program. I plan to make more little generative / interactive poetry programs in the future.

I often felt like writing to her, but, in general, I don’t write to people I care about often enough, I don’t call the people I love often enough.

I was fortunate to have had Professor Kelly–as I still feel I should call her (though I think she would prefer just Brigit)–as my first poetry workshop leader as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the spring of 2003. I was a foolish boy from the cornfields with a love of language; I was lonely and depressive; and I was failing out of jazz inprovisation and trumpet performance in the School of Music when I entered her class. For the next year or so, I spoke almost every week with her in her office in the top floor of the English building about poetry, religion, literature, life. I remember walking her to her car one evening. I remember her lending me the published diary of a (Swiss? Czech?) writer from the 40s that contained sketches of stories about marionettes and woodsmen–I still cannot remember the author or the book.

I am not good at remembering or telling stories, so forgive me.

I write this with a deep but gentle sadness welling in my face and flushing through my limbs, because through the short time in my life that I knew her, she influenced me profoundly as an example of openness, generosity, compassion, and deep wisdom. Her poetry is nothing like what I write or work on, but it has a beauty and mystery that has always touched and warmed my too often inhuman core. When I read it, I think of her and how kind she was to speak to me all of those days. It never felt like I was an irritation, and it was always a true exchange, and I have always wished to be like that with my own students and in my own conversations.

The last time I saw Brigit was in 2009 when she gave a reading at Wabash College in Indiana. For some reason I do not remember her reading her own poems there too vividly, perhaps because I was already so familiar with them. “Dead Doe” was always a favorite of mine and my poetry students at Purdue. Another favorite has always been “Pipistrelles.”  There is a sort of spell they cast, so perhaps I was too intoxicated by them. What I remember is her reading from Wallace Steven’s “The Auroras of Autumn,” which I had never read or heard. She made it beautiful.

This isn’t very eloquent, and I’m losing track of what I am trying to do here. What am I trying to do here? I just want to say that it was her kindness and sadness that I treasure most, through my interactions with her and through her poetry, and my life and the world have both been made better for them. I feel an emptiness and a loss knowing she is gone, but I feel her impression in that same space, that helps me to understand what is good in this world.

There is something that must be done and undone. I am writing a way in. I have not been earnest enough honest enough. I have not been forthright.

What is bottled up will not burn right. It melts, cracks, explodes. It makes a big mess of things. I do not want a mess really. I want fuel, air. I want ash.

Except for my love I do not know what I should care about. And it is not my love, and I do not need to care for it. It wells up and fades out and when I am aware of it I am a milk jug rolling and bobbing on the waves of it.

There is nothing more satisfying than a good fuck, a deep fuck. Something should be sore after, and something should be knocked loose—something hard to pin down, that should not stay where it was.

I brought them outside and washed them with the hose. In rainbows.

Writing can take it out of me and make it visible, but what it becomes is a sham. Was it a sham when it was still inside me? And when the air and sunlight and water of the world touches it, what will be left of it? The world eats everything. It is always hungry.

Fourteen hours and twenty-seven minutes and forty-one seconds have passed. Mostly without me.

Sometimes I do not wash the stink off of me. I am a dirty animal too.

Before there was a decision there was a moment. Of confusion? Of peace? Of innocence? Before I got lost on the better route, I saw where I was and wept for the brutality of it. I knew where I was.

Two roads diverge in a forest. I run crashing through the bush and thorns.

Returning and rerunning, retreading the path, rewinding the tape. Reposting the repast, repelling and rappelling. But not rapping. I leave that to the masters.

“There is no authority in one or others.” — Leslie Scalapino.

“I write for myself and others.” — Gertrude Stein.

I will write to the end of myself and others, and there is no succeeding.

Don’t ask me to explain because I do not understand it.

I thought of writing The Bewilderness Survival Guide, but I do not think it can be survived. I waste away to nothing in my bewilderness.

Earlier this week I thought of a digital art project. Participants would have their bodies and faces scanned to create 3D game characters which would then star in an unending series of animated death scenarios. They would watch their bodies choking, starving, having a stroke, dying from infection, malnutrition, dehydration, exposure, being mangled, shot, blown up, slashed, stabbed, hacked, burned, crushed, brutalized, hit by cars, buses, falling satellites, eaten by roaches and wolves and sharks—fatally wounded in every conceivable way on a projection screen.

I want to watch this for myself. I want to participate. I want to see my imaginary deaths pile up before my eyes. I want to know what I would think and feel then.

I mean to be morbid but this is just my positivity shining through. Not obsession but its antidote.

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.

So my newly installed speech-to-text dictation software seems to think I would never use a dirty word like fuck. WTF! I decided to say it over and over and see how much it would bend to not swear. Here’s the result.


talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talking
funky folk Fox Fox Fox funky Falk Falk thought Fox talking
the fogging folk funk of the Fox funky funky folk and mother bucking bucking for folks
mother for folk funk for talk funk a duck in a truck luck
a flock of flock and flick and flax flux Fox 40 flick
flex birds and bees Fox Henry’s knees why can’t you just right Falk
Faulkner Norfolk you think I don’t mean to say Falk but I say Falk all the time
buck this Falk that funky you work so hard to not write talk ship mother Fokker
mother Fokker mother Fokker mother focus mode for that mother for that mother
thought that mother thought that mother funky mother talk
funk is a beautiful word in the English language
Falk is a beautiful word in the English language
buck is a beautiful word in the English language
flock is a beautiful word in the English language for people Falk talk funky Falk Falk
Blank block Falk blank Falk Falk blank blankety-blank Falk funky blank Falk funky Falk blank Falk a bank

Click here for LINEmaker

LINEmaker is the fruit of my labor to move my concrete poem series LINES from OpenOffice, where I was using the advanced font settings to create poems from letters smashed closely together (and taking advantage of some of OpenOffice’s glitches with this). Here are two of my favorite New LINES poems: line-010813

New-LINES-HarkThe program takes this basic idea, but adds more interaction and options. It was coded in Processing and exported to javascrpt.

To use LINEmaker, you must first click in the canvas area to begin writing, then you can move the mouse horizontally to expand/condense the font spacing and vertically to adjust the transparency of the text.

Here are some screenshots from LINEmaker:

131114_185514_19692131114_185934_35270131114_144858_33795 131114_134325_1151

Click here for LINEmaker