Virtual Muse: Experiments in Computer Poetry

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Wesleyan University Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 152 pages
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In this engaging, accessible memoir, Charles Hartman shows how computer programming has helped him probe poetry's aesthetic possibilities. He discusses the nature of poetry itself and his experiences with primitive computer-generated poetry programs and -- illustrated with sample computer-produced verses -- traces the development of more advanced hardware and software.

The central question about this cyber-partnership, Hartman says, "isn't exactly whether a poet or a computer writes the poem, but what kinds of collaboration might be interesting." He examines the effects of randomness, arbitrariness, and contingency on poetic composition, concluding that "the tidy dance among poet and text and reader creates a game of hesitation. In this game, a properly programmed computer has a chance to slip in some interesting moves."
 

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Contents

Start with Computers
7
Start with Poetry
16
The Sinclair ZX 8 i
28
The Scansion Machine
38
Travesty
54
AutoPoet
65
Prose 7 3
73
Avenues
88
Unconclusion
103
Monologues of Soul Body ii 3
113
SeventySix Assertions and SixtyThree Questions i 29
129
Sentences excerpt
136
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About the author (1996)

CHARLES O. HARTMAN is Professor of English and Poet in residence at Connecticut College, author of Glass Enclosure (Wesleyan Poetry, 1995) and Jazz Text (1991), and coauthor of Sentences (1995). His prose program is available on the World Wide Web.

Hartman's memoirs about how computer programming helped him probe poetry's aesthetic possibilities.

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