NOOB: ENTRY/ACCESS TO PRODUCING DIGITAL LITERATURE & POETRY

What:
Talk
When:
1 hour
Where:
Discussion:
0

In this paper and presentation, I will be focusing on how technologies have impacted my own writing practices as an ultimate beginner—a “noob”—in producing digital work. In part, my work explores poetry in the context of digital technologies available to us today. While there is a rich history of digital poetics and poetry experiences that have been produced using digital technology and for digital mediums, most of this has resulted in changing how poetry is published and disseminated and less so how poetry is produced and practiced. As C. T. Funkhouser notes in Prehistoric Digital Poetry, “While coding and schemes for computer poems can generate moments of provocative poetry, their use does not automatically produce significant work” (Funkhouser 2007). The same can be said for non- computer poetry, but it raises the question of how these means can be used to produce ‘significant work’. Does new technology necessarily lead to “new artistic vision” as some have claimed?

Even if the claim is true, there exists a significant hurdle to using it in a way to produce something significant. Exposure and barriers to access no doubt keep these technologies at the fringes of artistic practice with many poets and writers not aware of their existence or how they might even go about using them. Where can they go? Who can they contact? How might a writer with zero experience in programming find models or inspiration or collaborators? Must one have an institutional affiliation? And what if you haven’t grown up with programming in your school or your milieu? How do you use any of this technology to the things that the aims of the conference suggest if you don’t have the access?

I take myself as an example of a poet whose interest in digital and electronic literature far exceeds my knowledge of how to produce it. I will present my early processes and examples of my learning curve (while steep it has not been as steep as most owing to the privilege of my institutional position) how I am trying to bring these possibilities to students of limited means and access. My current work is driven by the question of how I can reinvigorate my poetic practice and make meaningful or significant work using these technologies. To date my projects includes Python poetry generators and combinators, 3D printed poem and poetry objects, and attempts at 360/VR poetry environments.

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