visual poetry

3 text pieces and five video stills in Otoliths #51

robot-poems otoliths 51

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.

video stills otoliths 51

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

BNW-12

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.

grawlix-grid-BNW

 

Asemic alphabet video stills published in The New Post-literate

asemic-alphabet-nplThe New Post-literate is an online literary blog dedicated to the exploration of asemic writing–that is, writing that looks like writing, but that cannot be deciphered by the reader. Today, the journal published seven still images from my video Silenced Scribes that each appear to be a letter from an unknown alphabet. You can check out the portfolio here.

Gonch stuff published in Otoliths

otoliths-49-gonch stuff.png

Very pleased to see the new issue of Otoliths released today. This is number 49, the “Southern Autumn” issue. It’s another huge compendium documenting the international “scene” for out-poetry in text, video, image and other (unknown) formats. Editor Mark Young titled my section of Gonch materials “The World According to Gonch.” That’s a phrase I wish I’d thought of myself. Anyway, it encompasses three text poems and eight images from the Gonchlog (example above).

The text pieces are all written using a language deriving from the nonsense phrase “All Gonch,” intending to explore the language and culture of a post-American landscape. In another phase of the Gonch project, I go through consumer magazines to remove the five letters of “Gonch” and affix them to accounting paper. The name of the magazine, its publication date and issue numbers are noted. So far I’ve done about 200 of these images.

You can check it out here.

Gonch poems and images in Angry Old Man journal

Gonchlog-pic-aomThe third issue of Angry Old Man journal was issued yesterday, this one including work from two phases of my Gonch project in a special section. This includes Gonch text poems based on a vocabulary improvised from the phrase “All Gonch,” as well as images of the word “Gonch” spelled out ransom-note style in letters cut out from consumer magazines.

From my note to editor Drew David: “I go through consumer magazines and cut out the five letters of “gonch” and glue them onto accounting paper. The intention is to draw out that key nonsense word from these propaganda vehicles in order to find the way forward. Or something like that. I’ve done about 200 of these images so far; the ones here are the first six that I did.”

gonch-poems-aom

Definitely check this issue out. Angry Old Man looks to be one of those journals of record for the contemporary avant garde scene, much like Otoliths. Not to be missed.