A Literatura Cibernética 2 by Pedro Barbosa

In A Literatura Cibernética 2: Um Sintetizador de Narrativas [Cybernetic Literature 2: A Narrative Synthesizer] (1980), Pedro Barbosa advocates the same analytical perspective of literary machines, which he had begun in the first volume. Influenced by Max Bense and Abraham Moles, the author develops the idea of “artificial text,” which would be later challenged by E. M. de Melo e Castro (1987), in the sense that Castro’s transmedia stance considers that all texts, produced over time with the aid of various technological tools, are always artificial.

In this second volume, which is devoted to fiction, Barbosa publishes a narrative synthesizer, addressing the concept of “matrix-text” as a transformable grid by the computer program. Being aware that in the fictional field there is a concern for semantic and narrative coherence, the author publishes the most interesting outputs of the variants of the series “Era Uma Vez…” [Once Upon a Time…], “Fábulas” [Fables], “Histórias dum Baralho de Cartas” [Stories of a Deck of Cards] and, finally, “História dum Homem Citadino” [Cityman Story], whose literary reception has been more explored, e.g. Christopher Funkhouser (2007) and Roberto Simanowski (2011), who curiously read it as a poem.

Read more about this work at:

PO-EX.net: http://po-ex.net/taxonomia/transtextualidades/metatextualidades-autografas/pedro-barbosa-literatura-cibernetica-2

ELMCIP: http://elmcip.net/node/7999

April is International E-Poetry Month


During the month of April, the United States of America celebrates National Poetry Month, a literary celebration inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. To join the celebrations, the Electronic Literature Organization and I ♥ E-Poetry will be publishing a calendar to highlight e-poetry performance and publication events from around the world.

Please use the form below to add events to the calendar, which will be published on April 1, 2015.

If you have any questions, please contact Leonardo Flores at leonardo.flores@upr.edu.

Electrónicolírica by Herberto Helder and PO.EX Combinatorics

Note from the Publisher: Herberto Helder passed away on Monday, March 23, 2015. To honor his poetic legacy, we wish to celebrate one of his works with this entry by Álvaro Seiça.

Herberto Helder is one of the most consistent and innovative Portuguese poets of the second half of the 20th century. Even if his later œuvre has been marked by a traditional experimentalist reworking of crafted language, whose poiesis engages with a very idiosyncratic vocabulary, one should not forget Helder’s eclectic trajectory. Having been influenced by, among other movements, Surrealism and international avant-garde experimentalism, Herberto Helder was, firstly together with António Aragão (1964), and secondly with Aragão and E. M. de Melo e Castro (1966), the editor of two important anthologies or cadernos (chapbooks), Poesia Experimental 1 [Experimental Poetry 1] and Poesia Experimental 2 [Experimental Poetry 2]. Both these anthologies opened up most of the major pathways of literary and artistic experimentalism in the 1960s, from which the PO.EX (Experimental POetry) movement emerged. Several genres, formal and thematic threads were originally tried out in these two anthologies and further work of the movement, namely concrete and visual poetry, ‘film poetry,’ sound poetry, ‘object-poetry,’ ‘poetic action’ and happening. As Helder points out in the first editorial (“Introdução”) of the cadernos: … Read more…

A Literatura Cibernética 1 by Pedro Barbosa

Pedro Barbosa’s pioneering work introduced computer-generated literature (CGL) in Portugal in 1975. Having worked with Abraham A. Moles at the University of Strasbourg, Barbosa published three theoretical-practical volumes of his programming experiences with the FORTRAN and BASIC languages. These volumes deal with combinatorics and randomness, developing algorithms able to ally computing and literary production, bearing in mind a perspective of computational text theory.

According to the author, A Literatura Cibernética 1: Autopoemas Gerados por Computador [Cybernetic Literature 1: Computer-Generated Autopoems] is an “esboço de uma teoria, toda uma prática, dois métodos e dois programas, que irão facultar a qualquer leitor, interessado e imaginoso, a confecção de poemas automáticos à razão de 5200 versos por hora: no espaço intraorgânico de qualquer computador!” [outline of a theory, an entire practice, two methods and two programs, which will provide any interested and imaginative reader with the possibility of making automatic poems at the rate of 5200 verses per hour: in the intraorganic space of any computer!] (1977: 8) These “auto-texts,” or “computer-generated autopoems,” hitherto open up a new field of literary theory in the Portuguese context – the direct junction of literature and computation, of writer and programmer. Barbosa’s autopoems were programmed in FORTRAN, ALGOL and NEAT during 1975-76 (Permuta program, Iserve subprogram, and Texal program, Aletor subprogram), using an Elliot/NCR 4130 (a machine introduced in the 1960s in the UK), in collaboration with Azevedo Machado, engineer at the Laboratório de Cálculo Automático [Laboratory of Automatic Calculus] (LACA), at the Faculty of Sciences from the University of Porto.

In A Literatura Cibernética 1, Barbosa compiled a selection of textual outcomes generated with his programs: the permutational poems and the random poems. On the one hand, the permutational poems include “Poema de Computador” [Computer Poem], “25 de Novembro” [November 25], “Verão” [Summer], “Silêncios” [Silences], “Cansaço das Palavras” [The Weariness of Words] and the subtitled poems “trovas electrónicas” [electronic ballads], “Porto” and “Aveiro” (8! = 40,320 permutations, 576 verses, running time: 6’ 54’’), exchanging the morphemes “na” (in), “da” (of), “sem” (without), “uma” (a/the) and the lexemes “água” (water), “ria” (estuary/river), “tristeza” (sadness) and “alegria” (happiness). Aveiro, a city famous for its water channels, is portrayed with the opposites “sadness/happiness” and “water/river,” to the extent that the noun “ria,” when a verb, means “laughed,” giving rise to its opposite, “mágoa” (sorrow), through the rhymed interplay with “água” (water). On the other hand, the random poems appropriate, remix and rewrite poems by other poets. Here, one finds the “Transformação” [Transformation] series, with “Camões e As Voltas que o Computador (lhe) Dá” [Camões and the Turns the Computer Gives (It)], which rewrites a Renaissance text (“classic”) with several random transformations of Luís de Camões’s Os Lusíadas [The Lusiads] (1572), and “É Preciso Dizer…” [One Needs to Say…], an appropriation and re-creation of Mário Cesariny’s surrealist poem (“contemporary”) “Exercício Espiritual” [Spiritual Exercise] (1956), in which Barbosa extends the ironic and surrealist practice of the initial lexicon of nouns.

What surfaces from the resulting versions of the poems, in addition to the achieved syntactic accuracy and the meticulous encoding work, is a luminous mark of criticism, irony and parody, both to the current state of the official literary canon, and, above all, to the climate of oppression and fear (“medo”) inflicted by the long dictatorship, which was still being felt. Conversely, questioning the perpetuation of a political, social and cultural lie (“mentira”) was the likely path to be renewed by the recent establishment of the Portuguese democracy – history (“história”) as continuity and revolution (“revolução”) in the confrontation between human and machine.

Read more about this work at:

PO-EX.net: http://po-ex.net/taxonomia/transtextualidades/metatextualidades-autografas/pedro-barbosa-literatura-cibernetica-1

ELMCIP: http://elmcip.net/node/7998

¡Saludos España!

¡Les ofrezco una grata bienvenida a I ♥ E-Poetry!

Arantxa Serantes, autora del blog humanístico A duermevela, recién ha publicado una entrevista acerca de este recurso y el potencial que representan los medios digitales para la poesía.

Notarán que el recurso está escrito en inglés. Si no domina bien el inglés, no se preocupe que estamos traduciendo el recurso al español y esperamos tenerlo listo para mayo de este año. Mientras tanto, si le interesa conocer más del proyecto y de la literatura digital, visite la excelente Revista 404, en la cual me hicieron una entrevista y tradujeron una serie de artículos de I ♥ E-Poetry sobre la poesía de Jim Andrews.

¡Aquí, siempre a la orden!


Roda Lume by E. M. de Melo e Castro


Open “Roda Lume” by E. M. de Melo e Castro

E. M. de Melo e Castro has written poetry in different physical media – in the same way as “peso pesado do átomo” [atom’s heavy weight] (Castro 2006) – such as paper, textiles, canvas, wood, metal, stone, plastic, early opting for a dematerialization of word and image, something that became apparent, from the outset, in the pioneering videopoem Roda Lume [Wheel of Fire] (1968). This dematerialization of the artwork was taken as a guideline for the retrospective exhibition “O Caminho do Leve” [The Way to Lightness] (2006) at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, in Porto. Melo e Castro states:

When I began using video technology to produce my first videopoem, Roda Lume (Wheel of Fire), in 1968, I did not know where the limits were and where my experiments would take me. I was really experimenting on the most elementary meaning of the word experience. A sense of fascination and adventure told me that the letters and the signs standing still on the page could gain actual movement of their own. The words and the letters could at last be free, creating their own space. (2007: 176)

Roda Lume is a 2’ 43’’ videopoem, which was broadcast by the Rádio Televisão Portuguesa (RTP) in 1969 and subsequently destroyed by the station itself, and was reenacted by Melo e Castro from the original storyboard in 1986. The work is indeed surprising, as a poem that overlaps text, kinetic text, image, moving image and sound, anticipating and influencing various genres of digital hypermedia poetry mainly launched after the birth of the World Wide Web. It constructs a different notion of space-time, opening a “visual time” (Melo e Castro 1993: 238) of unfolding images and text that comprises a new reading perception.

Read more about this work at:

PO-EX.net: http://po-ex.net/taxonomia/materialidades/videograficas/e-m-de-melo-castro-roda-lume

ELMCIP: http://elmcip.net/node/8906

New Contributor: Alvaro Seiça

I ♥ E-Poetry welcomes its new contributor, Álvaro Seiça.


Álvaro Seiça is a writer, editor and researcher. He has published four poetry books, the most recent being ‘Ö’ (2014) and ‘permafrost: 20+1 zeptopoemas sms’ (2012). He holds an MA in Contemporary American Literature, with the thesis “Transduction: Transfer Processes in Digital Literature and Art” (University of Évora, 2011), winner of the Moser Prize 2013. Seiça has published several poems and essays on different journals. In 2007, he co-founded Bypass, a nomadic editorial and curatorial project. He currently lives in Bergen, Norway, where he is a PhD fellow in Digital Culture at the University of Bergen, Humanities Faculty, Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies. Seiça is a researcher on electronic literature and digital art at the Bergen Electronic Literature Research Group and editor of the ELMCIP KB (http://elmcip.net). His PhD project focuses on digital poetry and how time and space relate to digital kinetic poetics.

Follow him on Twitter: @AlvaroSeica

@DependsUponBot, @JustToSayBot, and @BlackBoughBot by Mark Sample

This trio of bots by Mark Sample present riffs on three of the most famous poems of the early Twentieth Century: William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This Is Just to Say,” and Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro.” The bots generate new versions of the poems by randomly altering most of the open word classes while keeping the basic syntax, meter and lineation intact, tweeting a new mutation once every two hours (though at the time of writing @DependsUponBot has been inactive since December 2014, for reasons unknown –editor’s note: it has now resumed operations). To my mind, the pleasure of these bots’ tweets lies in the discrepancy between the familiarity of the syntactical structure and the limit-case absurdity of the randomly generated content. For example, the sublime juxtaposition Pound presents the reader – … Read more…

New Contributor: Calum Rodger

I ♥ E-Poetry welcomes its new contributor, Calum Rodger.

calumrodgerCalum Rodger is a poet, scholar and performer based in Glasgow, Scotland, currently completing his PhD thesis on the work of Scottish poet Ian Hamilton Finlay at the University of Glasgow. His research interests run the whole gamut of twentieth and twenty-first century experimental poetic practice, having written on Dada, the Beats, concrete poetry, flarf and alt lit, among others. … Read more…

¡Saludos México!

Leo 404

Dr. Leonardo Flores, creador de I ♥ E-Poetry

Me place darle una cordial bienvenida a I ♥ E-Poetry, un recurso académico y enciclopédico dedicado a la literatura creada en conversación con tecnologías electrónicas y digitales.

Este proyecto fue lanzado el 20 de diciembre de 2011 como un blog en el cual leía y reseñaba una obra de poesía electronica diariamente– un esfuerzo a veces épico que duró 500 días consecutivos. El proyecto se ha ampliado para ser colaborativo, abriendo sus puertas para recibir escritos por otros expertos en distintos géneros de literatura digital. Exploren sus páginas para descubrir más de 600 obras reseñadas, frecuentemente organizadas en colecciones o recursos temáticos, tecnológicos o por género literario.

Este recurso fue desarrollado en inglés, mi área de preparación académica, pero este semestre estaremos traduciendo I ♥ E-Poetry al español. Esperamos tener gran parte traducida antes del mes de Abril, en el cual visitaré la ciudad de México para participar del evento  titulado “Mañana hoy se ha ido.”

Si nos visitan de la Revista 404, publicada hoy por el Centro de Cultura Digital en México, seguramente ya leyeron mi entrevista o mis reseñas de Cinco piezas de poesía digital por Jim Andrews, traducciones de artículos publicados originalmente aquí. Sino, pues ya tienen algunos vínculos para ir conociendo más.

Exploren, disfruten y compartan. Aquí estamos a la orden.