Computational Poetry and Performance

]“A poem is a small (or large) machine made of words.”

— William Carlos Williams

A poetic form is halfway between a set of constraints and a set of instructions. Some of these constraints/instructions are formal (e.g., rhymes, number of syllables) and some are semantic (e.g., what the poem has to be “about”).

Poetry structure and examples:

How do words mean when we put them into new contexts? Under what conditions does the meaning web tear apart? What meanings can words make (or can we make of them) when we disturb their normal relation to each other? These are questions that any poet can be seen as asking; and from this point of view, someone experimenting with computer poetry is continuing an age-old project.—Charles Hartman,Virtual Muse, p. 104.

Some computational literature

  • Nick Montfort, Taroko Gorge (limited syntax, words as units, carefully curated choice of words)
  • Adam Parrish, Next Semester (ITP-specific, parody, Markov chain)
  • Code Poems 
  • Stribling, Krohn, Aguayo, SCIgen (context-free grammar, parody of genre)
  • David Melnick, PCOET (non-algorithmic, but also non-semantic, plays on nature of writing)
  • Charles Bernstein, 1-100 (algorithms, numbers, performance)
  • Kyle Macdonald, Key Tweeter (code-based, graphical, recursive)

Textual interfaces

Allison Parish

Computational Performance

Todd Anderson

Jason Levine

Jason Levine – Baudi(o) Painting from Jason Levine on Vimeo.

Some Twitter Bots:

Computationally Calculated Rap Vocabulary

Rappers, sorted by size of vocabulary. 20 new rappers added, hand-illustrated.