Markovian Parallax Generate: On digital writing and poetics

Digital Writing with Python Course in NYC

Posted in Uncategorized by Eric Goddard-Scovel on June 18, 2009

python_logoI’m beginning my Python self-education this week while on vacation, with the intention of creating new programs to augment the ones I’ve been using to write digital poetry for the last three years (e.g. Gnoetry and Mchain). I’m starting with How to Think Like a Computer Science and working my way out from there. For shits and giggles, I was doing a Google search for info on python text processing +poetry and found a course description of the course I’ve dreamed of taking/teaching for the last year or so.

Digital Writing with Python is being taught this Summer in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) by Adam Parrish (check out his website – cool stuff). The course description:

This course introduces the Python programming language as a tool for writing digital text. This course is specifically geared to serve as a general-purpose introduction to programming in Python, but will be of special interest to students interested in poetics, language, creative writing and text analysis. Weekly programming exercises work toward a midterm project and culminate in a final project. Python topics covered include: functions; object-oriented programming; functional programming (list comprehensions, recursion); getting data from the web; displaying data on the web; parsing data formats (e.g., markup languages); visualization and interactivity with Python. Poetics topics covered include: character encodings (and other technical issues); cut-up and re-mixed texts; the algorithmic nature of poetic form (proposing poetic forms, generating text that conforms to poetic forms); transcoding/transcription (from/to text); generative algorithms: n-gram analysis, context-free grammars; performing digital writing. Prerequisites: Introduction to Computational Media or equivalent programming experience.

Summer Session II begins on June 29, so if you’re in New York and interested in innovative writing techniques, check it out. If my plans work out well, I’ll be in New York in August or September trying to get a job and exploring a digital arts/poetry/jazz scenes. Otherwise I would be there. If I could afford it now after the M.F.A. Sounds like a fantastic course.

P.S. – I’ve been putting off finalizing the cross-platform Gnoetry installation howto, but I think I’ll put it up in the next week or so. Something to look forward to.

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