Condors' polyphony and jawed water-lines catapulted out: Gnoetry and Its Place in Text Processing's History
As chronicled on the “Beard of Bees” website, authors involved with Gnoetry, “an on-going experiment in human/computer collaborative poetry composition”, have collectively engaged with digital textual processing for more than a decade (see http://beardofbees.com/gnoetry.html and also http://gnoetrydaily.wordpress.com/). In 2011, the group published their first anthology, Gnoetry Daily, Vol. 1, a 52 page collection of verse spun with programs named Gnoetry, charNG, Infinite Monkeys, ePoGeeS, welatanschauung, and JanusNode, with accompanying commentary by Eric Elshtain, eRoGK7, Matthew, edde addad, nathanielksmith, and DaveTolkacz.
The software program engineered by the group, Gnoetry, synthesizes language based on its analysis of existing texts, thus mimicking the “statistical properties” of its input texts; users filter language by applying constraints in each of the programs they favor. Concluding the “Methodological Notes” included in Gnoetry Daily, Vol. 1, addad writes, after highlighting capabilities of their preferred programs, “Generally, we just want to write good poetry”. Emphasizing the
contents of Gnoetry Daily, Vol. 1, we analyze successes and failures in this pursuit and discuss how the group’s practice interestingly falls in line with what could be called a “post-TRAVESTY” continuum. TRAVESTY is a text processor constructed in the 1980s by Hugh Kenner and Joseph O’Rourke that had great influence on digital poetry’s development in the United States, by inspiring subsequent important works by Jackson Mac Low, Charles O. Hartman, and others, and initiating dialog between practitioners.
Efforts of those involved with Gnoetry group not only recall the communal rapport initiated by artists who appreciated and worked with TRAVESTY, but also some of the program’s aesthetic and computational agenda as well. In addition to pursuing such topics, we will, using the conference paper as an input, create spontaneous poems that offers us, and the audience, an opportunity to evaluate the program’s qualities in real time—as a way of suggesting the key to interpreting the significance of these alliances and aesthetic directions is to imagine the authorial process as a mode of interactivity.
(Source: Author's abstract, 2012 ELO Conference site)