[-empyre-] reply to Murat

Michael Boughn mboughn at rogers.com
Thu Dec 1 04:32:47 AEDT 2016

"On the other hand, speed is antithetical to poetry, particularly reading

I don't know about that. Have you ever heard Tom Raworth?


On Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 1:43 AM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Chris, I apologize for my delayed response. I wanted to mull over your
> observations before I responded. You touchon issues that are important to
> me:
> ".... Poetry in oral and written forms has developed a history, we must
> presume, because it appeals to deeply ingrained human sensibilities with
> its often metrical presentation of language that pleases the reader’s
> emotion, intellect, and imagination. A large audience might consume a
> technologically complex digital poem produced as a video game, but that
> text is going to be vastly different from something in the anthologies
> heretofore published by W. W. Norton. Given a new set of stimuli—a slower
> pace of presentation, materials absorbed as words and artwork—the typical
> video-game audience might change its tastes, but I do not see those
> radically different modes ever conjoining in titles that reach a high level
> of popularity in mass culture...."
> I think here you are making two very important points. First, perhaps
> non-digital poetry and digital poetry are two completely different genres.
> To apply the same word "poetry" to both is a misnomer and mis-charaterises
> both of them. It leads to confusion and misunderstanding of either. I tend
> to agree with that evaluation.
> Second, the importance of speed in understanding the digital medium. Speed
> is at the heart of everything that happens there. It is a component of its
> value. On the other hand, speed is antithetical to poetry, particularly
> reading it. That is I think the chasm that ultimately separates them.
> " don’t know if you ever saw my follow-up book, *New Directions in
> Digital Poetry*? (If not, I can send a pdf)). I present a couple of case
> studies about games. The first paragraph of the book speaks fairly directly
> to your concern, I think: ... Upon study they begin to understand
> how digital poetry functions as something other than poetry
> presented on a computer, involving processes beyond those used
> by print-based writers, and that poetry made with computers has
> unusual qualities – representing something inventive and worthy
> of engagement."
> Yes, I would appreciate it very much if you can send me a pdf copy of
> *New* *Directions in Digital Poetry*.
> I think the last part of the quote is reaching a similar conclusion that
> finally digital poetry is not like poetry of before but a completely new
> genre in a new medium. The same process occurred at the invention of
> photography when it was first consider a kind of "painting" usuping some of
> the representational functions of the latter; but a completely new genre in
> a new medium. That is what The Peripheral Space of Photography is all about.
> ",,,Digital works disappear for various reasons all the time. Some of my
> all-time favorite works and tools are no longer accessible—so, yes, this is
> a type of failure!..."
> Yes, this is the kind of failure I am talking about --digital works'
> Aechilles' heel, so to speak; as opposed to a technical or artistic failure
> that can be corrected by tweaking or through practice.
> "... The idea of perfection is in the eye of the beholder! "
> You mean perfection is what we used to call beauty?☺
> "Essentially, yes. For instance, with some of the MIDI work, I have a
> database full of words or phrases, and when a note on the guitar is struck,
> one of the many words or phrases is selected. No particular order is
> imposed, & things like this can be programmed not to repeat. Thus the
> experience will be different every time. There are a lot of pieces of e-lit
> like this. Even if the overall structure of the work is fixed/functioning,
> what happens within it isn’t."
> I watched Eli [?] which I liked a lot and which I rthink is created
> through the program MIDI. I would not call the effect of the way in which
> letters and morsels of texts (sometimes "randomly" underlined) appearing on
> the screen random; but rather I'd call them witty and surprising. I would
> not call them random because the letters' and texts' appearances and
> movements on the screen has a musical, syncopating effect which is the
> reverse of random.
> "
> With regard to Cecil, there are usually ornate structures or outlines that
> he & his groups work with. These are not written out like Mozart, but
> certainly exist (as diagrams on paper, as you may have seen at the Whitney
> exhibit?). If I’m working with a writing program (an algorithm that makes
> poetry), or whatever, I can improvise in that I can enter spontaneous,
> unpremeditated input, & the machine will do what it has been told to do
> with it (maybe containing random elements, maybe not).
> I’m sure I didn’t cover everything, but that’s what I have for now, OK, cf"
> I can see the ambiguity in the argument. What you say is true about Cecil,
> but also, I am told, each performance is different even with the same
> outlines. You are doing something similar yourself by introducing
> unpremeditated output. On the other hand is the "ornate structures" Cecil
> starts with the same, as predetermined, as the programed machine you start
> with.
> Chris, thanks. You covered a lot.
> Ciao,
> Murat
> On Mon, Nov 28, 2016 at 10:49 AM, Macon Reed <swapmeetproject at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Hello,
>> I have tried to write the moderator to find out how to unsubscribe to
>> this list but haven't heard back, maybe I have the wrong email? There is so
>> much great conversation here, I just have too much email to keep up with.
>> If anyone can tell me how to unsubscribe, Id really appreciate it.
>> Thanks,
>> Macon
>> On Monday, November 28, 2016, Funkhouser, Christopher T. <
>> christopher.t.funkhouser at njit.edu> wrote:
>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> --
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