Author Archive

Python Code Poetry

Natalia, I have been looking over your python code poem “Why White,” and I am very inspired to do some similar experiments, but clearly I need to learn a bit more about Python and coding! Anyone want to work ith me on this? Sorry to sound like such a NooB….

I googled Python Code poetry and found the following, which I really enjoyed. I love the idea of being able to run the script and generate a new poem:


Some Jenny Holzer Links

Jenny Holzer has some pretty awesome photos from her more recent installations up on her website:

There is also a documentary about her, which is streaming on Netflix:

She was also included in the “Protest” segment of PBS’s “Art in the Twenty-First Century” documentary:

Of course she is on Twitter:!/jennyholzer

And, not to be outdone, someone else has done a lovely Twitter parody as Jenny Holzer’s Mom:!/jennyholzermom

Lev Rubinstein: Thirty-five New Pages

This latest from the Ugly Duckling Presse sounds awesome! Having done my own experiments with notecards and business cards, this sounds like a must read. I’m ordering it today:

Translators Metres and Tulchinsky team up again to bring us Thirty-five New Pages, one of Lev Rubinstein’s note-card poems, written in 1981. Does it tell a story? Is it a reflection on the form of the book? Is it there at all? This classic minimalist/conceptualist text from the “postmodern Chekhov” summons Genesis and Zen, Tractatus and guided meditation, with whip-smart wit and considerable elan, presented here on 35 library-style cards in a handsome letterpressed box. (This poem is not included in Rubinstein’s other UDP collection, Catalogue of Comedic Novelties.) “Here, in fact, something could happen.”

Born in 1941 and considered to be one of the founders of Moscow Conceptualism, Lev Rubinstein is among Russia’s most well-known living contemporary poets. His work is mostly conceived as series of index cards, a medium that he was inspired to create while working as a librarian. His work was circulated through samizdat and underground readings in the “unofficial” art scene of the sixties and seventies, finding wide publication only in the late 1980s. Rubinstein lives in Moscow and writes cultural criticism for the independent media. The first collection of his work published in the US was Catalogue of Comedic Novelties (UDP 2004). Ugly Duckling Presse has also published his series Thirty-Five New Pages (2011).

Geof Huth reviewed it in great detail (with pictures) on his blog:

Listening to Anna Karenina (Through a Wall)

I am so sorry I was not able to listen in on today’s discussion– so many connection problems! It sounded exciting though, even though I was only hearing bits of it. Proposal: If anyone want to do brunch or tea or anything tomorrow, I am free until around 4pm and can meet up anywhere. Let’s connect somehow!

So my work in progress, a conceptual piece:

I’m in the process of composing a poetry series based on Anna Karenina. I created a mathematical formula to extract fragments of text (sort of like cutouts) at intervals, which I then applied to the novel. I suppose this could be done quickly with a computer program, but I am doing this by hand, literally counting out pages, then words, and selecting fragments according to the formula and underlining them in pencil. From there I construct poems using only the fragments.

The experience is… well I am reading Anna Karenina more closely than I ever thought possible. For each poem I generate, I’m allowing myself to subtract *or* add no more than one word from/to each fragment, tamper with punctuation, and add line breaks.

Notes: This project is inspired by a poem I read in I’ll Drown my Book. I don’t have the book handy– I’ll look up the poem later and post it. (This whole anthology is brilliant.)

I’m interested in ideas of how to present this– I would like to perhaps use a version of Natalia’s python script to play with the fragments even further, or maybe I can find another way to make is visual.

Here is the first poem I created. I anticipate constructing several poems for each part on the novel, but I don;t expect to present them in order since I want to emphasize the fragmentary nature of this weird exercise:

From Pt. I

Each unhappy family is unhappy
an affair with (without) 
                        family and household.

A connection with each other (other) than (that) they.
On the third day after the quarrel,
                                    (Oh, oh!) Stepan Arkadyevich Oblonsky hugged
the pillow from the other side and thought (oh!)
and dreamed,
              recalling his dream.
                                   How did it go? (oh! and Ohh!)

That stupid smile he could not forgive himself.

Reflexes of the brain.  Habitual,
kind and therefore. Torrent, 
                                      and refused.

That stupid smile is to blame. 
(Could find no answer).

More Erasure Poems based on George Herbert

More erasure poems– I hoping to create a collection.

I have also signed up for Audioboo ( a place where you can record and share audio files. Later tonight or tomorrow I will post some audio of these peoms as well as my “Rain is Falling” poem.

I did not do any sound mixing (I failed miserably with Garageband) I’m just trying to get comfortable with my voice and see what I can do with straight recordings.

Erasure poem based on George Herbert's "The Windows"Second Erasure poem based on George Herbert's "The Windows"

An Erasure poem based on George Herbert's "Trinitie Sunday"An erasure poem based on George Herbert's "Love (II)"

My Attempt at an Erasure Poem

I used The Windows by the Metaphysical poet George Herbert–who is probably waiting for me on the other side with a big heavy shovel to whack over my head.

Please note that in the first strophe, I would read “in thy glorious nd translucent afford” *not* ” in thy afford glorious and translucent” (I guess I am cheating….)Also, last strophe (I just realized) should read “colour” *not* ‘colours”.

I would really love feedback! However, I noticed after posting this that it says “comments are closed.”  How does one change that?

I am also integrating this into an assemblage of gold and silver leaf, pine needles, herbs, tree bark, dirt, and copper nails, which I might bring with me on Saturday; if not I will photograph it:

Rain is Softly Falling

This is just a draft– my initial thought was to make a heart shaped poem reflecting another heart shaped poem, but I abandoned that once I started typing it. I like how this disintegrates and fades in and out, and I think ultimately I would like to turn it into an audio poem, with the words weaving in and out of (perhaps) some audio of rain falling.