Markovian Parallax Generate: On digital writing and poetics

Blog Plans

Posted in Uncategorized by Eric Goddard-Scovel on June 15, 2007

This is my second blog. My first, What Light Already Light, is hosted on Blogger. It’s become more of a personal type blog. It’s title was borrowed from one of the first of a series of spam poems I wrote in 2006.

I plan for this blog to be different, I suppose more “serious” in nature. I plan mainly to explain my full process of using Markov chaining to generate material for poems. This process will be broken into several stages, which I will use as headers for these posts:

The Markov Chaining Program: Development info and settings for the python-script that I am using in this process.

Source Material (input): This will consist of news articles, blog posts, and any other texts that will be used as input for the Markov chaining program. I will give full citations of each source, although I am using them without permission. I do not forsee any issues arising from this, as the final draft of a poem generated by this process rarely resembles the source material in any clear way.

Program Output (raw): The unedited output from the Markov chaining program.

Program Output (selected): My selections from a session(s) of the program.

Poem Drafts (dated and numbered): All drafts with their date of completion and their series order.

Poem Final Draft: Which may or may not be published here. I’m not sure yet.

Poetics of this Process: I’m still questioning the many issues of authorship, etc. that this process brings up. Am I truly the author of these poems, whatever that is defined to be; and how original is this work / process, and does this matter in the end? This category will also address the question of why I find this process fruitful and enjoyable as one of the several ways I write a poem.

Along with all of this, I also plan to post and respond to poems by other poets who seem to be working in a similar aesthetic, or just something I come across that catches my interest. Links to these poems will be provided when available. I hope to invite other poets that I persuade to try out this program to join the blog with their thoughts and work as well.

Note on this blog’s title: “Mindless Carnage & Wonder At Death” are the characters in a recent poem I wrote entitled “The Children’s Army.” It was composed through the Markov chaining process I am explicating in this blog.


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