May 15, 2020

WordHack Book Table

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by @ 7:27 am

This May 21, 2020 at 7pm Eastern Time is another great WordHack!

A regular event at Babycastles here in New York City, this WordHack will be fully assumed into cyberspace, hosted as usual by Todd Anderson but this time with two featured readings (and open mic/open mouse) viewable on Twitch. Yes, this is the link to the Thursday May 21, 2020 WordHack!

I’m especially enthusiastic about this one because the two featured readers will be sharing their new, compelling, and extraordinary books of computer-generated poetry. This page is a virtual “book table” linking to where you can buy these books (published by two nonprofit presses) from their nonprofit distributor.

August 26, 2018

A Web Reply to the Post-Web Generation

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by @ 8:46 am

At the recent ELO conference in Montréal Leonardo Flores introduced the concept of “3rd Generation” electronic literature. I was at another session during his influential talk, but I heard about the concept from him beforehand and have read about it on Twitter (a 3rd generation context, I believe) and Flores’s blog (more of a 2nd generation context, I believe). One of the aspects of this concept is that the third generation of e-lit writers makes use of existing platforms (Twitter APIs, for instance) rather than developing their own interfaces. Blogging is a bit different from hand-rolled HTML, but one administers one’s own blog.

August 15, 2018

VIdeo of My PRB Reading

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by @ 6:03 am

Thanks to host Joseph Mosconi, I read at the Poetics Research Bureau in Los Angeles from two recent computer-generated books. Sophia Le Fraga and Aaron Winslow read with me on this evening, on July 21.

I have now posted 360 video of my readings of both The Truelist and Hard West Turn.

Montfort’s Poetic Research Bureau reading of July 21, 2018

I read from The Truelist (Counterpath, 2017). The Truelist is available as an offset-printed book from Counterpath, as a short, deterministic, free software program that generates the full text of the book, and as a free audiobook, thanks to the generosity of the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House, its Wexler Studio, and PennSound.

July 1, 2018

“Bullet” and Poem without Suffering

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by @ 11:51 am
A bullet
Discussed in this review: “Bullet,” David Byrne, American Utopia, Nonesuch, 2018; Poem without Suffering, Josef Kaplan, Wonder Books, 2015

David Byrne’s earworm takes a distant yet close perspective, describing a bullet’s fatal encounter with a human body. Did he know about Kaplan’s similar short, rapid, book-length poem? Byrne’s song sets its sights on an adult man, Kaplan’s poem on a child. The life of the child is hinted by describing what a warm maternal relationship is like, and by mentioning injuries from falling off a bunk bed and being hit by a baseball. We hear about the man’s life because of what the bullet cuts through: “Skin that women had touched,” “Many fine meals he tasted there,” “his heart with thoughts of you.” The general description is very effective. There are striking metaphors — positive associations — for the bullet itself, also. In Poem, it is a triumphant runner (such as Usain Bolt, who bears the name of a crossbow’s projectile) dragging gore from the body as if it were a trophy or banner. In “Bullet,” it is “Like an old grey dog / On a fox’s trail.” Perhaps America’s reliable old dog cannot be taught new tricks.

February 6, 2018

Using Electricity readings, with video of one

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by @ 1:34 pm

I’m writing now from the middle of a four-city book tour which I’m on with Rafael Pérez y Pérez and Allison Parrish – we are the first three author/programmers to develop books (The Truelist, Mexica, and Articulations) in this Counterpath series, Using Electricity.

I’m taking the time now to post a link to video of a short reading that Allison and I did at the MLA Convention, from exactly a month ago. If you can’t join us at an upcoming reading (MIT Press Bookstore, 2018-02-06 6pm or Babycastles in NYC, 2018-02-07 7pm) and have 10 minutes, the video provides an introduction to two of the three projects.

January 30, 2018

Author Function

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by @ 3:15 pm

The exhibit Author Function, featuring computer-generated literary art in print, is now up in MIT’s Rotch Library (77 Mass Ave, Building 7, 2nd Floor) and in my lab/studio, The Trope Tank (Room 14N-233, in building 14, the same building that houses the Hayden Library). Please contact me by email if you are interested in seeing the materials in the Trope Tank, as this part of the exhibit is accessible by appointment only.

There are three events associated with the exhibit happening in Cambridge, Mass:

February 7, 6pm-7pm, a reading and signing at the MIT Press bookstore. Nick Montfort, Rafael Pérez y Pérez, and Allison Parrish.

August 15, 2017

The Gathering Cloud

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by @ 1:41 pm
The Gathering Cloud, J. R. Carpenter, 2017

The Gathering Cloud, J. R. Carpenter, 2017. (I was given a review copy of this book.)

June 10, 2017

My @party Talk on Computer-Generated Books

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by @ 12:46 pm

I just gave a talk at the local demoparty, @party. While I haven’t written out notes and it wasn’t recorded, here are the slides. The talk was “Book Productions: The Latest in Computer-Generated Literary Art,” and included some discussion of how computer-generated literary books related to demoscene productions.

May 22, 2017

Sliders

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by @ 5:12 pm

Sliders front cover, with battlements

My minimal book Sliders has been published by my press, Bad Quarto. The book contains 32 poems, some of which are only one word long. In a break from tradition, they are not computer-generated.

Currently Sliders is only available for sale at the MIT Press Bookstore, 301 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Mass.

Sliders back cover, with blurbs

January 27, 2017

Multisequential Books in the Trope Tank

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by @ 4:15 pm

Love is not Constantly Wondering if you are Making the Biggest Mistake of your Life. Portland, OR: Perfect Day Pub, 2011.

Roflcon III. Cambridge, MA: Self Published, 2012.

Bottke, Allison, Heather Gemmen Wilson, Gary Locke. Friend or Freak. Colorado Springs, CO: Faith Kidz, 2004.

Ball, Jonathan. Ex Machina. Toronto: BookThug, 2009.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Bourbaki, Nicholas. If. Livingston, AL : Livingston Press, the University of West Alabama, 2014.

Burk, Jeff. Super Giant Monster Time! Portland, OR: Eraserhead Press, 2010.
(Also available from the MIT Libraries)

Carr, Mike. Robbers and Robots. New York: Random House, 1983.

October 27, 2016

Digital Lengua, the launch of 2×6 and Autopia, Nov 20 in NYC

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by @ 7:34 pm

Clouds of Digital Lengua palabras

Digital Lengua – Babycastles, 137 West 14th St, Manhattan –
5:30pm Sunday November 20

This reading of computer-generated literature in English and Spanish
serves as the global book launch for two titles:

2×6
Nick Montfort, Serge Bouchardon, Andrew Campana, Natalia Fedorova,
Carlos León, Aleksandra Ma?ecka, Piotr Marecki
Les Figues, Los Angeles: Global Poetics Series
http://lesfigues.com/book/2×6/
256 pp.

Autopia
Nick Montfort
Troll Thread, New York
http://trollthread.tumblr.com/post/152339108524/nick-montfort-autopia-troll-thread-2016-purchase
256 pp.

Montfort will read from these two books, reading English and Spanish
texts from 2×6. Paperback copies will be available for purchase. The
short programs that generated these books are printed in the books and also
available as free software online.

July 21, 2016

Computer-Generated Books

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by @ 11:16 pm

Here’s a first effort (as of 2am on July 22) at a bibliography of computer-generated books. I have not included books where the text has been obviously sorted computer (e.g. Auerbach, Reimer). I have included some strange outliers such as a book written with computational assistance and a book that is human written but is supposed to read like a computer-generated book.

I’d love to know about more of these. I’m not as interested in the thousands of computer-generated spam books available for purchase (unless a few of them are truly awesome), but would particularly like to know if some of the great NaNoGenMo books I’ve read are available in print.

April 25, 2016

Great Workshop for New Programmers at Babycastles

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by @ 10:41 am

I had a launch event Saturday afternoon for my new book, Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities. Not a typical reading or book party, but a workshop for people completely new to programming but interested in pursuing it. It was at the excellent gallery and venue, Babycastles, on West 14th Street in Manhattan.

September 8, 2015

Explorers of Bottomless Pit Return with Treasure

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by @ 2:04 pm
They found the key.

They found the key.

Far from plunging us into darkness, Reading Project: A Collaborative Analysis of William Poundstone’s Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit} provides brilliant and multifaceted reflections on a rapid, serial electronic literature work. (You can read Bottomless Pit for free online, by the way, in ELCv1 and on Poundstone’s site.)

June 11, 2015

Shebang Bash at Babycastles, July 2

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by @ 12:04 pm

Shebang Bash is a two-part event at Babycastles (137 West 14th Street, Floor 2, New York City) on Thursday, July 2.

It'll be sort of like this reading in Saint Petersburg, but with projectors.

It’ll be sort of like this reading in Saint Petersburg, but with projectors and a workshop beforehand.

The workshop (beginning at 6pm) provides an opportunity for anyone to begin developing computational poetry by modifying existing programs. Those without programming experience are particularly encouraged to attend. Workshop participants will develop, share, and discuss their work. Participants must register in advance and bring their own notebook computer running Linux, Mac OS, or Windows. (A tablet or phone will not suffice; computers are not available at the gallery.) Those who wish to can show and/or read from their work during the second part of Shebang Bash, although presenting during the reading isn’t a requirement.

March 20, 2015

Des Imagistes Lost & Found

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by @ 10:22 am

Des Imagistes, first Web editionI’m glad to share the first Web edition of Des Imagistes, which is now back on the Web.

I assigned a class to collaborate on an editorial project back in 2008, one intended to provide practical experience with the Web and literary editing while also resulting in a useful contribution. I handed them a copy of the first US edition of Des Imagistes, the first Imagist anthology, edited by Ezra Pound and published in 1914.

December 29, 2014

Megawatt Reviewed

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by @ 2:44 pm

The first review of Megawatt has appeared, and it’s quite a detailed analysis of the book, its relationship to Watt, and how the code and output text, in their presentation here, relate. The review is by Hannes Bajohr at 0x0a.

It’s in German. Here is the automagical Googly translation.

December 19, 2014

NaNoGenMo 2014: A Look Back & Back

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by @ 9:26 pm

There were so many excellent novel generators, and generated novels, last month for NaNaGenMo (National Novel Generation Month).

I thought a lot of them related to and carried on the work of wonderful existing literary projects — usually in the form of existing books. And this is in no way a backhanded complement. My own NaNoGenMo entry was the most rooted in an existing novel; I simply computationally re-implemented Samuel Beckett’s novel Watt (or at least the parts of it that were most illegible and computational), in my novel generator Megawatt (its PDF output is also available). For good measure, Megawatt is completely deterministic; although someone might choose to modify it and generate different things, as it stands it generates exactly one novel. So, for me to say that I was reminded of a great book when I saw a particular generator is pure praise.

December 9, 2014

Megawatt, the Paperback, Can Be Bought

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by @ 7:53 pm

… from the Harvard Book Store.

And if it’s digital data you’re craving, it’s also available for free as a PDF and as an EPUB. And the code that generated these books is free software.

December 1, 2014

This Speculative Musing

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by @ 8:44 pm

Exists! The Trope Tank.

An idea about libraries...

(It’s from this book.)

Megawatt Incarnate

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by @ 5:46 pm

Just as Pinocchio became a real boy, so Megawatt (my generated novel for NaNoGenMo 2014) has become a real book.

Megawatt bound (the proof)

Megawatt interior

The book will be for sale within a few days from the Harvard Book Store.

November 29, 2014

#! Coverage at MIT – Next Reading at Google

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by @ 8:56 pm

Arts at MIT has a nice new article about my book #!, one that is very aptly titled. It’s by Sharon Lacey. I read from the book at the List Visual Arts Center at MIT on October 22.

My next reading, on December 2, will be at Google in the Authors@Google series.

News Flash: Flash News!

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by @ 1:27 pm

There’s a nice article up at The Atlantic about Flash, written by the two authors of the new Platform Studies book, Anastasia Salter and John Murray. Their new book, I’ll remind you, is Flash: Building the Interactive Web.

November 26, 2014

World Clock Punches in on The Verge

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by @ 2:45 pm

Some kind comments about World Clock and NaNoGenMo in the article “The Strange World of Computer-Generated Novels” by Josh Dzieza.

Nick Montfort’s World Clock was the breakout hit of last year. A poet and professor of digital media at MIT, Montfort used 165 lines of Python code to arrange a new sequence of characters, locations, and actions for each minute in a day. He gave readings, and the book was later printed by the Harvard Book Store’s press. Still, Kazemi says reading an entire generated novel is more a feat of endurance than a testament to the quality of the story, which tends to be choppy, flat, or incoherent by the standards of human writing.

November 19, 2014

#! in San Antonio Fri 11/21 – #! in Austin Sat 11/22

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by @ 12:58 pm

I’m doing two Central Texas readings from my book of programs and poems #! this weekend:


San Antonio: The Twig Book Shop

Friday, Nov 21 at 5pm
The Twig Book Shop
in The Pearl (306 Pearl Parkway, Suite 106)


Austin: Monkeywrench Books

Saturday, Nov 22 at 4pm
Monkeywrench Books
(110 N Loop Blvd E)

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