Markovian Parallax Generate: On digital writing and poetics

Installing Gnoetry 0.2 in Ubuntu Linux Using a Pre-Built Program Folder (2012 Update)

Posted in Gnoetry, HowTo by Eric Goddard-Scovel on November 25, 2012
NOTE: I have not been able to test this yet on Apple computers, as I run Ubuntu 12.04 on an Asus PC. If you run into problems with my portion of the tutorial (not the installation of Ubuntu into your virtual machine program), please leave a comment below or e-mail me at



This guide will help you install and run Gnoetry 0.2 in either a full Ubuntu Linux installation OR an Ubuntu virtual machine (using VMware or VirtualBox) or virtual partition (if you choose Wubi) installed in Windows or OSX. The process described here should allow for poets using any platform to run the Gnoetry 0.2 program.

For some idea of what the Gnoetry program can do, visit Beard of Bees Press and look at the Gnoetry collaborations published there or browse through the Gnoetry Daily weblog. The program is still in its development stage, so it is not all that simple to get it running. It is more complicated depending on your operating system.Gnoetry was originally written to run in Ubuntu using the Gnome desktop environment.

Related Resources: For a demonstration of how to open, setup, and work on a poem in Gnoetry 0.2, refer to this video: Gnoetry 0.2 Demo (YouTube). For instructions on adding your own source texts into Gnoetry, see this page: Adding Source Texts to Gnoetry.

If you have already installed Ubuntu as your main operating system, then you can begin with step one below and skip the preliminaries.


The following instructions should work in any recent installation of Ubuntu Linux (Tested in 9.04 – 12.04), whether it is fully installed to your computer or you are running Ubuntu from a LiveCD or from within a virtual machine running in Mac OS X or Windows, such as VMWare, Virtual Box, or another VM program. It is necessary that you be able to use the Internet from Ubuntu within VMWare/Virtual Box.

If you have installed Ubuntu Linux on your computer (or Wubi for Windows), great! You can proceed to the steps below.

If you would like to use Ubuntu within OSX or Windows without fully installing it to your computer and replacing you current operating systerm, here are links to instructions for installing Ubuntu as a virtual machine on in OSX and Windows (there are others, and YouTube is a great resource as well):

Help for this process may also be available by searching the Ubuntu Forums.

When you have finished with that process, you can begin with the steps below.

1. Download the Pre-Built Gnoetry Folder

— In your Ubuntu virtual installation, use Firefox to download the pre-built gnoetry program folder from this MediaFire Gnoetry Shared Folder.

— You should choose one of the x64 archive files (either zip or bz2, doesn’t matter) if you installed a 64-bit Ubuntu operating system in VMWare / VirtualBox. Choose the i686 archive if you installed 32-bit Ubuntu. If you don’t remember which Ubuntu architecture you installed, you can probably just go with the 32-bit version, then try the other if it fails.

— When prompted by Firefox about the download, choose the default option, which is for the file to be opened by Archive Manager.

2. Extracting the Gnoetry Program Folder from the Archive File

— Once Archive Manager opens, extract the archive downloaded in Step 1 to your Desktop.

3. Changing File Permissions to the Gnoetry Program Folder

— You should now see the gnoetry folder on your desktop after extracting. Follow these steps to change permissions for the whole folder:

— Right click on the gnoetry folder on your desktop and choose “Properties” from the menu.

— Go to the “Permissions” tab and check the box that says “Allow to execute as program.” This is sometimes a little glitchy; just click on it until you see a check mark.

— Now, still in the “Permissions” tab, click on the button below it which says “Apply Permissions to Enclosed Files.” This will ensure that no files which need these permission are without them.

— After clicking to “Apply Permissions to Enclosed Files,” you will see that the check mark you made has turned to a dash. This is fine.

4. Run Gnoetry in the Terminal

— Now you are ready to run gnoetry. Enter the Terminal and type:

cd Desktop/gnoetry/interface

This puts you in the new gnoetry directory.

— Make sure that the “D” is capitalized, as everything in the Terminal is case sensitive.

— Hit enter.

— Next, type:


— Hit Enter to execute the program.

— If all went well, you should now be at the first Gnoetry prompt to select the form of Gnoetry’s output.

All the Action is Over at Gnoetry Daily

Posted in Blog Update, Gnoetry by Eric Goddard-Scovel on February 8, 2011

This website isn’t wholly dead for me yet, but my activities have shifted over to Gnoetry Daily, a community poetry blog centered around human-computer poetry generation. I’ve got some new ideas now for this blog and my other personal blog, wlal.

The last update I had on my work was my series The Same, which has died and come back and died again a few times in the last year or so. It’s past now. Dead to me. I’ve moved on to better things.

Some highlights on the Gnoetry Daily site:

  • A range of poetry generators are being used (Gnoetry, ePoGees, n+7, diastic reading, mchain, JanusNode)
  • GnoetryLeaks is a new series that Eric Elshtain started recently using Wikeleaks for source material and threatens to go viral
  • Poems written using of popular music and rap lyrics as source texts
  • Obscene Anti-Poetry of the End Times (6x6x6)
  • Gertrude Stein makes some hypermediated appearances (gertbot)
  • 1337 (that’s LEETSPEAK)
  • SciFi Gnoetry
  • And much much more


THE SAME is at Gnoetry Daily

Posted in Gnoetry, Poetics, Publication by Eric Goddard-Scovel on September 2, 2009

REPOSTED from what light already light:


You can read my current poetic project, The Same, currently being published serially at Gnoetry Daily. I might be pulling five or six of them soon so I can send them out for publication in print journals, but for now they’re all available to read, even the ones I’m not going to include in the final edit.

The poems are all written using the Gnoetry 0.2 program. There is currently a pool of 19 source texts, of which I more or less arbitrarily select three for each poem. The source texts are mostly from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century, and focus on islands, continental philosophy, religion and scientific discovery. The form I have chosen is three eight-line stanzas in blank verse. As a further constraint, I have barred all personal and personal possessive pronouns to the best of my ability. The titles are taken from each poem’s first two words, which are “the ______.”

As each poem develops, stanza by stanza, several themes arise from the beginning object (“the ______”) and are explored semantically and/or aurally and brought into relationship with each other. Syntax is broken or twisted to suit the building of these relationships, with the hope to creating an impression or understanding that rises above – while dwelling within – the words and ideas.

Currently the project is being influenced by Jean Baudrillard’s The Transparency of Evil, whose themes and perceptions seem to be eerily in line with my own. What is meant by “the same” in this project is meant to be multiple, but I think it is something that is wrong, perhaps the “profound indifference” of contemporary consumer culture; and possibly a solution, already present, ubiquitous, secret. Are these poems definitions? The opposite? What is the opposite of a definition, and would the imposition of anti-definitions be a meaningful act? These are the questions I’m working through right now.

In any case, enjoy the poems!

Adding Source Texts to Gnoetry

Posted in Gnoetry by Eric Goddard-Scovel on August 8, 2009

Want to add your favorite book or custom selection of texts to Gnoetry? Adding new source texts into Gnoetry is a simple process. If you are working between operating systems, though, the steps below can help you to avoid any problems.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

1. Acquire or create a plain text file of your source. Make sure the file is saved as plain text (.txt) , preferably in UTF-8 or Western (US/ASCII) encoding. In Ubuntu, it is best to create this file using the Text Editor program; in Windows, use the Notepad program. These programs will not add any metadata to the text files.

TIP: As a failsafe, make sure any file you create can open with the Text Editor program in Ubuntu, remove any gobbledygook metadata that you find from the top of the file, and save it as plain text.

2. At the top of your source file, you must append this header at the top:

Title: Moby Dick
Author: Herman Melville

Replace the title and author in the example above with your text’s, and make sure there are no spaces between the four lines.

3. Save the text file (again, as a plain text file) in the texts-txt folder in your gnoetry directory.

4. In the Terminal, go to gnoetry/tools and run the script. You may do this as often as you like. It simply adds new or modified text files in the texts-txt file to gnoetry’s database of sources.

% cd gnoetry/tools

% ./

Don’t worry about the “dropped sentences” that the script reports. These are often parts of the text file such as ordered lists (2.) that end in periods but contain no sentences or words. It usually reports a “loss” of about 5-10% of the “words” in the file.

5. That should do it. Get back to gnoetry/interface and run the gnoetry script as usually. Your new texts should show up on the list.

% cd ../interface (.. sends you up one directory)

% ./gnoetry

New Member on the Gnoetry Daily Blog

Posted in Gnoetry, Uncategorized by Eric Goddard-Scovel on July 9, 2009

After several attempts over two months, I finally got Gnoetry running on my comrade Chad Hardy’s Mac. He is now posting his work with Gnoetry alongside Eric Elshtain’s, Gregory Fraser’s and mine at Gnoetry Daily.

Check it out.

Try Gnoetry Without Installing Ubuntu

Posted in Gnoetry, HowTo by Eric Goddard-Scovel on July 9, 2009

[Post and Links Updated January 10, 2010]

If you want to try Gnoetry, but don’t feel up to building it yourself and installing Ubuntu alongside your other OS, there is a simpler option available using the Ubuntu Live CD option and the pre-built Gnoetry program folders below.

You will need a blank CD and a flash disk with ~250 MB of free space.

Also, I’m not sure if the LiveCD will work with Macs. I’ve not tested that yet.

Step 1: Download and Burn

Get the latest Ubuntu Desktop LiveCD. In recent Ubuntu versions, the LiveCD is included as an option in the installation disc, so download the correct image for your system (32 bit or 64 bit) and burn it to a blank CD. Make sure your burn the image to the disk and don’t just put the iso file onto a data cd (your burning software should have this option).

Next, download and extract the correct pre-built Gnoetry program folder from the MediaFire Gnoetry Shared Folder to a flash disk. The zip and tar.bz2 files contain the same things, just choose what you prefer.

  • For 32 bit Ubuntu: gnoetry-0.2-i686-2.6 (zip or tar.bz2)
  • For 64 bit Ubuntu: gnoetry-0.2-x64 (zip or tar.bz2)

When you extract it, make sure that you end up with the gnoetry directory in the base directory of you flash disk (not within some other folder).

Step 2: Open Ubuntu Live Session

Now that you have a burned LiveCD and a flash disk with Gnoetry on it, insert the LiveCD into your CD drive and restart your computer. Your computer should automatically boot from the CD (or ask you if you want to do this) and bring you to this screen:


Choose the first option, “Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer.” Once Ubuntu has loaded, insert your USB flash drive.

Step 3: Run Gnoetry in Terminal

Now open the Terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal). The flash disk is mounted at /media/disk, so you must do the following to get to gnoetry directory and run the program (don’t type the % signs):

cd /media/disk/gnoetry/interface/


This is assuming that your gnoetry directory was extracted to the top directory of your flash drive in Step 1. If not, you will have to navigate to whatever directory you put it in.

That’s it! Enjoy the program.

Howto: Installing Gnoetry 0.2 On Any Platform

Posted in Gnoetry by Eric Goddard-Scovel on June 23, 2009

Updated and Corrected: 2 July, 2009 @ 1:33 PM

rousselThis guide will install Gnoetry 0.2 on your computer, whether it’s PC or Mac. For some idea of what the Gnoetry program can do, visit Beard of Bees Press and look at the Gnoetry collaborations published there or browse through the Gnoetry Daily weblog. The program is still in its development stage, so it is not all that simple to get it running. It is more complicated depending on your operating system.

Gnoetry was originally written to run in Ubuntu using the Gnome desktop environment. This guide will first show you how to install a working virtual partition or virtual machine image of Ubuntu onto a Windows or Mac OS X machine, then it will guide you through the installation of Gnoetry 0.2 in your Ubuntu installation.

It’s worth all of the work in the end, though.

Installing Ubuntu on a Windows System with Wubi

powered_by_ubuntuA project that the Ubuntu team has been working on for a while now makes it much simpler to install a working virtual partition of Ubuntu on a Windows system. I have chosen this method for simplicity’s sake.


First, download the Wubi installer, run wubi.exe, and follow the instructions. Everything should work and you’ll have the option to run Ubuntu or Windows on your next reboot.

It the wubi.exe file is downloading the wrong image for your system architecture (what it did to me), then you will have to download the newest installation image for Ubuntu. Go to the Ubuntu Dowload Page. The latest version should be selected already. Make sure you choose the correct system architecture for your computer (whether it has a 32-bit or 64-bit processor) at the bottom of the page. Currently, the 32-bit version file is named ubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso.

Once that has downloaded, make sure that the Ubuntu installation image you downloaded above is in the same directory as the Wubi installer (wubi.exe); e.g., if wubi.exe is in c:\, then your Ubuntu ISO file should also be in c:\. Run wubi.exe and follow the prompts to install.

If you have trouble, refer to the FAQ’s on Wubi website.

Now you have to option on every restart to enter either Windows or Ubuntu. Isn’t it wonderful?

Installing Ubuntu on Mac OS X with VMWare Fusion

vmware_fusion_featuresVMWare Fusion is a virtualization suite for the Mac OS X operating system. Unfortunately, it is not free software ($79.99), so you may have to fork over some cash to get it. There is a free evaluation option if you just want to try it out. As of June 2009, VMWare has not released a free Player for OS X like it has for Windows and Linux.

Fortunately, though, there is already an excellent howto on Laurent’s Weblog called “Install Ubuntu 8.04 using VMware Fusion on Mac OS X.” Follow the instructions there. The only difference of note is that Ubuntu is now on version 9.04, so make sure you get the newest version to install.

Gnoetry Installation HowTo – Ubuntu 9.04

Now that you are in Ubuntu Linux, by whichever method you have chosen, you can get to installing Gnoetry 0.2. The only requirement at this point is that you have a working internet connection and that you remember your Ubuntu username and password. You will often need to enter your password for sudo commands (see below).


In the terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal), run the commands below. NOTE: Each command begins after the %, and you should hit enter to execute it:

% sudo apt-get update
% sudo apt-get install subversion libglib2.0-dev python2.6-dev python-gtk2 libgtk2.0-dev

That should install the above files and all other necessary build files for step 2. This may take some time, depending on the speed of your internet connection. Make sure you spell everything correctly, or it will not work.


Still in the terminal, type:

% svn co
% cd gnoetry/gnoetics
% ./ build
% cd ../tools
% ./


First, before you apply these patches, skip to step 4 and see if Gnoetry works out of the box. Otherwise, follow these directions as closely as you can. The fixes to the second script may also be unnecessary for your system, so try to run it before editing the second file, too.

NOTE: A user recently installing Gnoetry has sent in this correction / word of caution:

When correcting the scripts in step #3, I copied and pasted directly from your instructions. However, the quotation marks you use (or rather, used by your font) aren’t straight up and down, which apparently is enough to throw the whole thing into a conniption fit. A quick Googling taught me as much …, but in any case, you might want to change that in the instructions so other people don’t make the same mistake.

First Script (filename: gnoetry/interface/gnoetry):

Apply the following changes to lines in gnoetry/interface/gnoetry:

Line 1:


should be

#!/usr/bin/env python

Line 11:

sys.path.append(“..”) # add path for gnoetics library

should be

sys.path.append(“../gnoetics”) # add path for gnoetics library

Line 14:


should be


Lines 60-62:

# No splash screen, just go straight to the callback.
#splash.splash(4, post_splash_cb)

should just be one line,

splash.splash(4, post_splash_cb)

Save the changes to gnoetry/interface/gnoetry. Overwrite the file that is there.

Second Script (filename: gnoetry/gnoetics/

The fix for this file has to do with your system architecture and the path to the build directory that contains If you have a 32-bit system, replace line 4 (underneath “build”) with:


if you have a 64-bit system, replace the same line with:


** Note: make sure you include the ” ” and the ).

Now save the above script as in the gnoetry/gnoetics directory. Overwrite the file that is already there.

If neither of those worked, and Gnoetry crashes when you try to run it, then navigate in a file browser to the gnoetry/gnoetics/build directory and copy and paste the name of the directory there (the one without “temp” in front of it) inside of the quotation marks in line 4 of That is the information it’s looking for.

Final Note on Step 3: File Permissions

Proceed to step four. If step four fails, you may have to change the permissions of the gnoetry and files. Go into the File Browser again, right click on the files, choose “Properties,” go to the “Permissions” tab and check the box that says “Allow to execute as program”). Let me know if you have any trouble with this step.


Go back to the terminal. From your home directory, you will cd into the gnoetry/interface directory and run the program:

% cd gnoetry/interface
% ./gnoetry

Have fun!

Customizing Source Texts with Google

Posted in Gnoetry, Poetics, Thought by Eric Goddard-Scovel on April 19, 2009

I’m starting a new Gnoetry or Mchain project, it would seem. I’ve been compiling a list of “pleasingwords” for a while now, but I haven’t known how to use them. Now I’m planning to begin searching for text using Google (or other sources) that contains these pleasingwords and creating a source text to use with Gnoetry or Mchain.

Just an idea.

Gnoetry Chapbook Accepted for Publication

Posted in Gnoetry, Publication by Eric Goddard-Scovel on March 12, 2009


[Update: The chapbook is now available. Click on the image above or the link in the right sidebar of this blog.]

I’m excited to announce that my chapbook, a light heart, its black thoughts, which is a year-long collaboration with the Gnoetry0.2 program, has been accepted for publication by Beard of Bees Press. It is a 17 page sonnet sequence which uses Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as its sole source text. It will soon be available on the Beard of Bees website as a free pdf download.

This marks my first publication in any medium aside from self-publication on blogs, which I don’t think counts for much. The chapbook is the first of five that I am currently completing for my master’s thesis. A few of those used the mchain program (it is by feeling is and selections from more perfect worlds and other poems), and one is a long conceptual poem that catalogues a Google News search. That makes more than half of my thesis computer-mediated in some way, and highly intertextual overall.

Check out the Beard of Bees publications for my new chapbook. I’d love to see any of your comments or critiques of it, so feel free to comment on this or my other blog.

Gnoetry Project Update, Thoughts

Posted in Gnoetry, Poetics by Eric Goddard-Scovel on October 17, 2008

My Gnoetry chapbook, a light heart, it’s black thoughts, which is a sonnet cycle using only Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as input, is coming along, and will likely figure prominently in my M.F.A. thesis.

Lately it has turned to darker territory than before, and I’m finding that violent scenes of rape and exploitation are becoming the norm.  It may be partially a consequence of my teaching postcolonial theory along with Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart to my English 106 students.  I’m sure it has turned away from the love poem focus it had before because I am no longer separated from my girlfriend like I was when many of the other obsession-driven sonnets were written.  It is becoming much more obviously a postcolonial text itself of sorts, although the positive sexual reversal of the cunnilingus poem (my favorite still) remains the center piece of the whole sequence.

I’m trying to not make the work conform to any one focus, but for the work to be a diverse collection of disparate happenings.  Phillip Whalen’s idea of the poem as a “sitting” is on my mind now, along with Kenneth Goldsmith’s assertion that truly contemporary poets are essential “word processors,” working with language and data and constructing them into new works.

The chapbook won’t be ready for several months then, it seems.  I’m working on four large scale poetic works (three of them computational, one somewhat visual) and an assortment of scattered individual poems, so work on all of them has slowed down.  They will get done.

Wish me luck!