Postmodern word cluster

The graphic at the top of the wiki above was created using a rather sophisticated text analysis and visualization tool. You might want to explore it (not just for making cool graphics for your webpages).

Oral Transcription

We talked about this and have looked at examples over several classes. Here is the document on the markup we can use:
I also created my own transcription of a poem to use as a model for your work. This is a work in progress, but I think it will give you an idea on how to proceed

Close Reading

Close reading is probably familiar to most of you, even if it seems an antiquated practice. We will not need to adhere to all the New Critical strictures -- you can mention biography or historical context. But a good close-reading works hard to explore the relationship between form and meaning in a poem, explicating puzzling passages and attributing significance to minor features in the process of constructing an overall interpretation which informs and persuades the reader.

Of course, interpreting a disjunctive postmodern poem that courts indeterminacy presents special challenges! Here are some of our notes from the classwork on John Asbhery:

Aleatory Poetry

Creative Writing (Uncreative Writing) Exercise.
Last week you were briefly introduced to the idea of aleatory poetry. I encourage you to read the article in full:
"ALEATORY POETICS." The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. Credo Reference. Web. 10 April 2013.

The Princeton Encylopedia explains:

No work of art can exclude chance entirely, in the sense of bringing all aspects of the work under the creator's conscious control. Aleatory poetics, however, deliberately engages with chance as a compositional principle. The category encompasses a wide range of practices, including automatic writing, techniques of cut-up and collage [link:], combinatorial forms, and systems of random or probabilistic selection and ordering. Although it is possible to identify premod. antecedents (e.g., the combinatorial works of some *rhétoriqueur poets in the 15th and 16th cs.), the exploration of chance procedures becomes central to much 20th-c. experimental practice, reaching a high point at two key moments: first in the 1910s and 1920s, then in the 1950s and 1960s.

Later in the article, which I encourage you to read in full, Jackson MacLow is discussed as an exemplar in this tradition:

It is not until the 1950s and 1960s that the adjective aleatory, or sometimes aleatoric (from the Latin alea, a die, dice), began to be applied to works of art, specifically to musical compositions. The term is somewhat ambiguous, referring in the broadest sense to works that are partially undetermined by the composer, either in their composition or in their performance (or both). . . . Jackson Mac Low was among the most consistently vital practitioners of aleatory poetry. Influenced by Cage and inspired by Zen Buddhism, Mac Low employed chance operations (random digits, dice, playing cards) to select words, with the aim of minimizing the role of the ego in poetic composition. He developed methods that he characterized as "deterministic yet nonintentional," most notably the techniques of acrostic [link:] and "diastic" "reading-through text selection," which involve searching a source text for words or other verbal units that contain (as their first letter or in other positions) the successive letters of a "seed text" (Stanzas for Iris Lezak [1960], Asymmetries [1960-61], The Pronouns [1964], Words nd Ends from Ez [1981-83]). Mac Low's methods belong to what is often termed "procedural poetics" (Perloff), in which constraint [link:] determines the generative principles of composition. A strict distinction between aleatory and deterministic procedures may be less useful in this context than a reflection on the problem of nonintentionality and unpredictability that is at the heart of such practices and their critical reception.

As a way of preparing further for our discussion of MacLow's poetry this week, I would like you to compose an aleatory poem of some sort. This can be done manually -- you can use dice, or other chance procedures. But I think you may enjoy using a simple computer program that assists the writer by "processing" the text according to the kinds of procedural rules that interested MacLow.

Poetry Generator

Choose your source texts carefully. Explore the consequences of different "inputs." Decide whether to "edit" or keep the raw results. You might find it interesting to manipulate some classic poetry texts as sources.

Add your Experiment in Aleatory Poetry here. You may edit the page and paste in the text.