“Poemita” by Eduardo Navas

Open 'Poemita' by Eduardo Navas
Open ‘Poemita‘ by Eduardo Navas

Poemita by Eduardo Navas is an online collection of micropoems published on the Twitter platform which Navas began in January 2010, and which he has continued publishing up to the present day. Navas locates Poemita within his broader portfolio of projects that he has developed with ‘random brief statements’ (http://navasse.net/poemita/), and each tweet constitutes an individual poem, based around keywords that Navas has brainstormed.

Poemita can be classified within the growing genre of Twitter poetry, of which there are now hundreds of examples worldwide, including Canadian author Jason Camlot’s tickertext1 and tickertext2 (2010), the collaborative poetry project using Twitter by Australian author Gavin Heaton, TwitterPoetry (2007-), and the Twitter Poetry competition organized by Marsha Berry and Omega Goodwin in 2009. In these and other examples, the formal aspects of Twitter – in particular, the restriction to a maximum of 140 characters – is a central feature. Sharing certain features with the Japanese tradition of the haiku –and indeed, with the neologism twaiku sometimes being used to describe this type of poetry – Twitter poetry sees the formal restriction to 140 characters as a productive, creative one, leading to the possibility of capturing moments or images with a particular intensity.

Although each of the tweets within Navas’s Poemita are individual micropoems in their own right, when reading them in conjunction a shared set of thematics and concerns emerge. The micropoems all deal with contemporary society and forms of expression. Some poems comment on new media technologies themselves; others lend themselves to considerations of the poetic medium; still others make implicitly political statements related to digital content.

Frequent within these micropoems is commentary on new media technologies themselves. Examples here can be seen in the tweet of 15 August 2012 that reads:

Here, the brevity of the utterances means that greater focus is given to the adjective and noun with which the poem begins; the fact that the noun and its qualifying adjective are pre-posed, in non-standard syntax, means that our attention is drawn to ‘instant gratification’ as the central image of this micropoem. This micropoem is thus a critique of the instant celebrity culture promoted by social media, and the increasing narcissism that constant updates, via platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, encourages. Yet at the same time it is, of course, a metatextual poem, since the writing of ‘aphoristic fragments’ is exactly what Poemita undertakes: the micropoem thus engages in a critique of its own medium, as we see in many of Navas’s other works.

We are, thus, not allowed to sit back and enjoy as we read Poemita; instead, we are encouraged to question our own stance as users of social media as we engage in our reading.

 

“NRA Tally (@NRA_Tally)” by Mark Sample

Tweets Following Followers 159 0 24 NRA Tally @NRA_Tally Keeping score of the NRA's greatest hits. Fairfax, Virginia everyadage Kathi Inman Berens Brett O'Connor Alex Gil Followed by everyadage, Kathi Inman Berens, Brett O'Connor and 2 others. NRA Tally ‏@NRA_Tally 38m 30 postal workers killed in San Francisco with a AR-15 assault rifle. The NRA steps up lobbying efforts. Details NRA Tally ‏@NRA_Tally 4h 22 restaurant diners murdered in Jacksonville with a 10mm Glock. The NRA reports a fivefold increase in membership.
Open “NRA Tally (@NRA_Tally)” by Mark Sample

Created in the wake of a mass shooting event in Isla Vista, California, this bot takes aim at the National Rifle Association and the rhetorical strategies it uses to protect the industry and gun culture it lobbies for. He accompanied it with a manifesto titled “A protest bot is a bot so specific you can’t mistake it for bullshit: A call for bots of conviction” in which he invites the creation of bots which are “topical, data-based, cumulative, and oppositional” (here’s an updated version). He also explains how his bot @NRA_Tally meets these characteristics and goes into great detail on the data sources that inform the bot’s generation of murderous hypothetical scenarios, such as this one:

Read more“NRA Tally (@NRA_Tally)” by Mark Sample

Werner Twertzog– Back from the Dead

TwertzogBack

Werner Twertzog is back from the void of Twitter deactivation.

My recent entry on Werner Twertzog’s disappearance came a couple of weeks after his June 18 exit, announced on a tweet that I missed at the time and had no access to because upon deactivation, all of his tweets disappear from Twitter’s public interfaces and are reported as nonexistent.

Read moreWerner Twertzog– Back from the Dead

Werner Twertzog– he dead?

TwertzogProfileWayback
Internet Archive snapshot of Werner Twertzog’s Twitter page on February 27, 2015.

Werner Twertzog (@WernerTwertzog) is a persona that performs a parodic homage of German filmmaker Werner Herzog on Twitter. This humorous account does an admirable job of capturing Herzog’s voice in (necessarily) brief, aphoristic tweets that express his existentialist perspective and wry humor.

Performing a celebrity’s persona for artistic, humorous, and/or political purposes has recently become a social media trend. Some notable examples are @SlavojTweezek, @TheTweetOfGod, God (on Facebook), and Kim Kierkegaardashian. Werner Herzog’s inimitable verbal style has even been the subject of a series of YouTube videos by Ryan Iverson, such as “Werner Herzog Reads Where’s Waldo?” The Twitter account, Werner Twertzog, has been so successful that its last name has become a term (“Twertzog: To tweet (verb) or a tweet (noun) in a dark, German style that seems erudite, absurd, and possibly morbid.” see this recent interview), a hashtag #twertzog, and a day-long celebration on September 5 (see image below) in which people try to tweet like Werner Twertzog (see image below).

Read moreWerner Twertzog– he dead?

@godtributes by @deathmtn

Open "@godtributes" by @deathmtn
Open “@godtributes” by @deathmtn

Poetry is traditionally conceived as a refined, patterned and stylised language produced by skilled writers and orators. Not so for twentieth-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger. His highly influential and counter-intuitive philosophy, encapsulated in the dictum “language speaks man”, suggests that poets do not make poetry, but poetry poets. It is not a question of self-expression, but of “listening” for language’s “call”. According to Heidegger, this “call” takes us beyond the “mortal” towards the “heavenly”, “the Unknown One”, “god”. I wonder, then, what he would make of @godtributes, a charming little Twitter bot that “listens” to your tweet and “calls” it out back to you, transformed into an (ir)reverent tribute to an incidental, aleatoric deity.

Read more@godtributes by @deathmtn

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

modernistbots
Open @BlackBoughBot, @DependsUponBot, & @JustToSayBot 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@DependsUponBot, @JustToSayBot, and @BlackBoughBot by Mark Sample

I ♥ Bots

I love bots
Open “Genre: Bot

If you have been reading my daily entries on bots, and have explored the resource that compiles them, you may have noticed the great variety, sophistication, and artistry that characterizes this emergent genre. With these daily postings, I have tried to take a snapshot of a vibrant moment for this artistic and literary practice, knowing all along that it is growing too quickly to fully capture.

Read moreI ♥ Bots

“Save the Humanities (@SaveHumanities)” by Mark Sample

 Save the Humanities @SaveHumanities  Daily tips on how to stop the crisis in the humanities. Real solutions! (Machine Generated by @samplereality)
Open “Save the Humanities (@SaveHumanities)” by Mark Sample

At face value this bot seeks solutions to what many call “the crisis of the Humanities” by offering “tips on how to stop the crisis in the humanities. Real solutions!” Its operation is conceptually straightforward: it completes a sentence template that begins with “To save the humanities, we need to” and then completes the sentence, I imagine with the results of a search in Twitter for tweets that contain “we need to” or “we must.” This creates grammatically correct sentences that offer solutions that vary in their fit or appropriateness. For example:

Read more“Save the Humanities (@SaveHumanities)” by Mark Sample

“Snowclone-a-Minute (@snowcloneminute)” by Bradley Momberger and “Pizza Clones (@pizzaclones)” by Allison Parrish

These two bots are based on the concept of snowclones, which are a linguistic phenomenon best described by Erin O’Connor in her wonderful blog and resource “The Snowclones Database.”

A snowclone is a particular kind of cliche, popularly originated by Geoff Pullum. The name comes from Dr. Pullum’s much-maligned “If Eskimos have N words for snow, X surely have Y words for Z”. An easier example might be “X is the new Y.” The short definition of this neologism might be n. fill-in-the-blank headline.

Fill in the blank mnemonic phrases? This is ripe for a bot treatment.

Read more“Snowclone-a-Minute (@snowcloneminute)” by Bradley Momberger and “Pizza Clones (@pizzaclones)” by Allison Parrish

“#FalseFlag Bot (@FalseFlagBot_)” by Ben Abraham

 #FalseFlag Bot Tweets Following Followers 25.9K 4 546 #FalseFlag Bot @FalseFlagBot_  Replacement for @FalseFlagBot R.I.P. #nWo #illuminati #falseflag  right behind you!
Open “#FalseFlag Bot (@FalseFlagBot_)” by Ben Abraham

This deceptively simple bot searches Twitter for the #FalseFlag hashtag and retweets the results. Here’s an example of its output:

The concept of the false flag is born from mistrust of the government and lends itself to elaborate conspiracy theories about covert operations on its own soil which are then blamed on terrorists. During the Bot Summit, Ben Abraham discussed this concept and explained some of his interest in redoing the original @FalseFlagBot, as seen in this video. Some of the conspiracy theory hashtags he mentions and a few others were conveniently listed (and retweeted by the original @FalseFlagBot) in this tweet.

Read more“#FalseFlag Bot (@FalseFlagBot_)” by Ben Abraham

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