Collaborations in E-lit
This essay, a discussion between two esteemed e-poets for whom collaboration is an integral part of their creative practice, appeared in the "The Collaborative Turn" special issue of American Book Review, guest-edited by Davis Schneiderman. In their discussion, Montfort and Strickland survey several common types of e-lit collaboration and provide links to representative examples. Strickland explicitly links the material aesthetics of code poetics to literary theorist Timothy Morton's call for critical thinking that engages the universe's enmeshed interconnectedness, which he dubs "the ecological thought."
Beyond collaborating with “it,” the e-lit writer has to secure the collaboration of a diverse crowd of readers, none of whom are in possession of any kind of normalized conventions for such reading.
Strangely, my interest in poetry generators is motivated not by un-paraphrasable economy of structure, something I love in poems, but by superfluity of output—by a state of affairs where one is awash in potentials we know we have, but cannot prevision. Why? Because, to my mind, language wants to evolve toward what Tim Morton calls “the ecological thought”; namely, that there is no outside, no inside, no secure perch or boundary, but only multiply woven interconnectiveness—at every level.
Collaborators dissolve their individual claims and feeling of ownership while actually heightening their responsibility.