“Quasar Pulsar” video on YouTube

It’s been a while since I posted new video content, so today I uploaded the “Quasar Pulsar” video to YouTube. I’ve been placing stills from it in various journals over the past year (Otoliths, Angry Old Man, H&, etc). This one is pretty long at nearly 13 minutes, but the colors and movement may make it interesting enough to endure. Electronic soundtrack by Tone Ghosting. The text is the last stanza from my poem “Shit on a Stick Corporation”: “Quasar pulsar/beep beep/to the stars and all.” It refers to the noise pollution of televised advertising escaping into space, which some alien race light years away will have to deal with eventually. Why would aliens visit the Earth? To tell us to keep it down.

3 text pieces and five video stills in Otoliths #51

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Always an event when a new issue of online experimental poetry round up Otoliths is published. Today, the journal’s 51st issue was released, marking Southern Spring (Australia), containing a who’s who from the international experimental poetry scene. Vispo, text works, hybrids, you name it.

This issue offers a selection of my work, including five stills from the video “Silenced Scribes” (view them here), and a selection of three texts from a new series tentatively called “Robot Speak”: “Cattle Check,” “Then It’s Time,” and “Ready America.” You can read them here.

These three texts form part of a new series of experiments inspired by the Facebook AI units that recently developed their own language using English words with different syntax and meaning. The AI units were intended to carry out customer service transactions and negotiations, and the format of their language seemed to be a powerful way to confront and manipulate the continuous stream of commercial messages invading our mental space.

Further, they represent an attempt to replicate a machine code constructed from an extremely limited vocabulary, often initiated by spam emails. Each piece develops by permutations, repetition, and sound/rhythm. It’s impossible for the human observer to know if the machine is analyzing or tabulating data, performing a calculation, conducting a negotiation, or making a persuasive appeal. Any of these functions is a possibility. In a way, the texts are a form of speculative fiction: looking at a machine narrative pulled from a future where AIs have been released to perform functions on their own. As in the case of the Facebook AIs, these instances show a machine or machines adapting human (English) language for their own ends. The repetition of the key words imitates a transactional language, as if a carnival barker is repeating an appeal to a potential audience. But the end result also reminds me of a magical incantation appealing to a familiar spirit.

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6 asemic poems on The New Post-Literate

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Asemic writing blog The New Post-literate posted six of my asemic poems today. These come from a large stash (85+ pieces) of this alien script, all rendered with a brush and black ink. You can check out the NPL group here.

“Asemic” writing is any text that doesn’t have a semantic value for the reader. For more examples, just browse around the images and other resources on the New Post-literate site!

“Frozen in Babylon” and four other poems published in BlazeVOX

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Online poetry journal BlazeVOX is known for publishing a wide variety of contemporary experimental work. Their Fall 2018 issue brings together a huge number of writers around the loose theme of “the idea of ‘public space’ and more specifically on spaces where anyone can do anything at any given moment.”

The issue includes five poems from my “Civilization’s Lost” series: “Frozen in Babylon,” “Upon the High Castle,” “No Guiding Light,” “The White Grave,” and “Schools of Drift.” The pieces in the series were inspired by lost civilizations from around the world. Under the current American regime, it seems important to examine the fragility of languages, cultures and nations. “Upon the High Castle,” for instance, is based on the cliff side city of Mesa Verde in Arizona. You can read my contributions here.

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Abstract poem in Brave New Word’s “Blank Verse” Hemingway tribute

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Online Experimental poetry journal Brave New Word‘s Issue 12 is a tribute to Ernest Hemingway’s experimental, pre-Dada poem “Blank Verse.” You’ve probably seen it somewhere. BNW editor Volodymyr Bilyk describes it this way:

“Blank Verse” is a five line poem that consists solely of punctuation marks divided by extensive spaces to resemble a legitimate text object. The poem consists of: 
  • a pair of quotation marks; an exclamation mark, colon, coma, dot; coma, coma, coma, dot; coma, semicolon, exclamation mark and another coma.
As you can see – it is obviously a throwaway joke. But in the same time it manages to go far beyond its original intent. 

You can read his full examination of the piece (and view Hemingway’s original) on Volodymyr’s personal blog here.

All the pieces in BNW #12 are responses in some way to Papa Hemingway’s piece. There are contributions from many artists in the international experimental poetry scene, including Mark Young, John M. Bennett, Sacha Archer, Andriy Antonovskiy, and many more. Lots of amusing remixes, re-dos, and re-visionings. Who knew one could do so much with punctuation! If you like your poetry concrete and a little silly, this issue is for you.

My own response is a concrete poem called “Grawlix Grid,” an 8×10 construction of various punctuation marks. You can view it online here.

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