Prof. Loss Glazier

PROCEDURAL POETICS, SPRING 2001

Weds 12:30-15:10, 232 CFA

ENG685 (ID#094682), DMS 607 (ID#305906), ENG475 (reg#455452)

Course web site: http://epc.buffalo.edu/procedural/

Office hours: Fridays 11-1 or by appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Procedure has been a key element in numerous works of innovative writing; such practices are strikingly relevant to computer-generated writing practices. This seminar covers procedure from significant Twentieth century practices to the algorithm. It traces such practices through Cage, Mac Low, Oulipo, Language experiments, and other engagements, with a focus on emergent forms of computer-generated poetry. We will have a close look at mesostics, diastics, and other procedural poetic forms. We will read supplemental writings by writers such as Charles Hartman, Hugh Kenner, and David Gelernter, also looking at the historical development of computing and the relation of writing to the machine. This course focuses on methods of generating texts, from avant-garde traditions through programs for computers written by/for modern and contemporary poets. The course offers graduate students opportunities to develop their own skills and practice in digital media. Students will be encouraged to investigate publication opportunities for written work on topics in new areas of this field. Readings will include writings by and about the authors listed above, theoretical works about the materiality of digital literature, and Web-based materials on alternative, cross-cultural, and new practices in the field. Computer lab sessions will be included, if possible, to assist students develop skills for projects. Undergraduates with subject interest in this area are encouraged to contact the instructor for permission to take this course.

Course requirements (see below):

1. Oral presentations

2. Written response

3. Final project

Texts: Mac Low, 42 Merzgedichte in Memoriam Kurt Schwitters, Warren Motte, Oulipo, Cage, Empty Words, Hartman, Virtual Muse. Books should arrive by the third weeks of class at Talking Leaves, 3158 Main. (Note: Books should be available in the Libraries, should you wish to make photocopies instead of purchasing books. If you plan to continue in literature, however, these may be valuable books for you to have. You may wish to hold off on purchasing Hartman until later in the semester.)

RESEARCH OPTIONS:

I am particularly interested to hear about you discover through your research in this area. Any of the authors/topics related to the course and also on the French Generator Poetry movement (especially the works of Jean Pierre Balpe, Philippe Bootz, and others), details of forms/procedures (meostics, diastics, etc.), and citations to articles on procedure, algorithms, and computational systems, as related to writing/poetry/lit.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

Notes:

(1) Some refinements to these requirements are forthcoming.

(2) Grads and seniors: Sign up for a "scheduled oral" as soon as possible. You also should be planning a March 14th oral.

(3) Other students: You may propose a "scheduled" or "March 14th" oral for extra credit. If you do not, however, your attendance in class will be crucial.

(4) All students must do all readings and must complete a final project.

I. ORAL PRESENTATIONS

SCHEDULED ORAL: Choose one of the following options (15 minutes).

Essay. Present an online essay, by arrangement with instructor. List of examples to be provided. Students may also propose their own examples. Identification of other essays based on your research are encouraged.

-- or --

Procedure: Identify, execute, and document a procedure. A two to five page execution of a procedure of your choosing.

-- or --

Mac Low Presentation (3 presentations on Feb. 21). Presentation on one procedure/poem from Mac Low's Representative Works, or any other of his books, or from his EPC author page (http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/maclow/).

-- AND --

MARCH 14th ORAL: Present a brief overview of a procedural poetics topic (5 minutes).

1. Language Experiments

2. Silliman's procedures

3. Kenner

4. Gelertner

5. Cayley

6. French generator, Balpe, Bootz

7. TextWorx Toolshed

8. Goldsmith

9. Essay on Retallack

10. Mesostics/diastics

11. Fluxus/Conceptual/Performance art

12. Other?

II. WRITTEN RESPONSE -- PENDING

This item is presently not required but may be required at some point during the semester.

III. FINAL PROJECT

Final projects in digital form are encouraged but not required. Projects should provide an in-depth investigation of a topic/project relevant to course content. Projects must be proposed to the course instructor early in the semester.

SITES

ELECTRONIC POETRY CENTER http://epc.buffalo.edu/

EPC E-POETRY PAGE http://epc.buffalo.edu/e-poetry/

TEXTWORX TOOLSHED http://www.burningpress.org/toolbox/

OPEN LETTER ISSUE: http://www.ubu.com/papers/ol/

EPC Mac Low PAGE http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/maclow/

EPC Cage PAGE http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/cage/

EPC John Cayley PAGE http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/cayley/

BERNSTEIN'S POETRY EXPERIMENTS LIST http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/bernstein/experiments.html

ONLINE ESSAYS:

"techne | nostos | physis: The procedural poetries of Joan Retallack" by Brian Lennon (http://www.altx.com/ebr/ebr10/10len.htm)

"Differential Poetics in Kenneth Goldsmith's Fidget and John Kinsella's Kangaroo Virus" by Marjorie Perloff (http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/perloff/pending/differential_poetries.html)

Pressing the "Reveal Code" Key by John Cayley

(http://www.hanover.edu/philos/ejournal/archive/ej-6-1.txt)

Language As Information: Intimations Of Immateriality by Johanna Drucker (http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/bernstein/syllabi/drucker.html)

Oral Essay 4E: "Two Representative Works of the Last Decade; A Working Present for Jackson Mac Low on His 75th Birthday" by Karl Young

(http://www.thing.net/~grist/l&d/lekyjml.htm)

More to follow or propose an essay of your choosing from an online site. See esp. Electronic Book Review, Postmodern Culture, Riding the Meridian; all available through the EPC (http://epc.buffalo.edu/).