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Shelly Jackson was born in the Philippines, grew up in California and now lives in New York, where she teaches at The New School. She is the author of the story collection The Melancholy of Anatomy, the novel Half Life, the early hypertexts Patchwork Girl and My Body, and several children's books with her own illustrations, most recently Mimi’s Dada Catifesto. Her stories and essays have appeared in many journals including McSweeney’s, Conjunctions, The Paris Review, The Believer, and Cabinet Magazine. The recipient of a Howard Foundation grant, a Pushcart Prize, and the 2006 James Tiptree Jr Award, she is also co-founder with artist Christine Hill of the Interstitial Library and headmistress of the Shelley Jackson Vocational School for Ghost Speakers & Hearing-Mouth Children, a work in progress. In 2003 she launched her project SKIN, a story published in tattoos on 2095 volunteers.


SKIN is a short story that is being published, one word at a time, on the skin of its readers. By requiring that the tattoos be done in black ink and in a traditional book font, I wanted to place the story in the lineage of the printed book, though in fact its closest kinship is to an earlier stage of the book, before the Gutenberg Bible, when each volume was a unique object (like mine), which took days, months, even years to complete (like mine), because it was laboriously handwritten (like mine), on skin (like mine)—that is, on vellum, which is calfskin. The tattooist is like one of those anonymous scribes who copied down sacred texts—the bowed back, the steady hand. So my volunteers are sort of like pages of a book. But they are also readers, investing the words of the story (and above all the particular words they bear) with personal significance that I didn’t plan and whose total import I’ll never know in full. They change the story forever. But they are also changed. I think we offer ourselves to books hoping for this change that I once called “the beautiful wound.” Here, that metaphor is made literal: readers bare themselves for the needle, let themselves be pierced, make their bodies part ink. And in this way they give my words concrete bodies that blush and blanch and sweat, that live and thus eventually die. That’s why only the participants are allowed to read the story: I didn’t want it to take on the strange undead existence of an ordinary story, but to stay bound to this finite number of specific lives, and eventually go with them into death. Meanwhile it mixes and remixes itself as words move through the world, bound together only by the story they’re all part of. Now and then a passerby gets a fragmentary glimpse of it—if, as, or. Gradually it erases itself, getting shorter, more elliptical, as words die. I myself will certainly die before the last of my words is gone. Then this authorless story will belong fully to its readers, to its words, which is to say, to itself.


Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo is a digital artist, technologist and educator whose work focuses on reconfiguring and representing time and space through media. Her work has been internationally exhibited and performed and widely published online and in print. Cynthia has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá) and a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications (ITP) from New York University. She is currently Assistant Professor of in the School of Design Strategies at Parsons The New School for Design and an active member of Madarts, an arts collective in Brooklyn, NY. (See Stephanie Strickland for statement on slippingglimpse.)


David (Jhave) Johnston is a digital poet. Author of Aesthetic Animism: Digital Poetry's Ontological Implications (MIT Press, 2016), Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong 2012-2016, Jhave currently is devoting himself to writing using new technological methods that emerge in these volatile times: currently, neural nets as generative devices for poetry. Results are often posted online:


The majority of my work is created for online viewing. It belongs to an emergent genre of 'online digital poetry', a subset of net-art. It is often multimedia in format, including video and soundtracks. Language is at the core of its meaning; computation is the axis of its culture; networks ensure its motion.


In conventional communication, typography is the essential vessel of meaning. My poetry inverts that dynamic. Its opacity explores how language's visual elements can be read both as art and as poetry. Images and sounds symbiotically intertwine with the affect and concepts expressed by the words.


As writing changes, so too does reading. Henry and Ouadane were made on a computer and rely on this tool for viewing. They are hybrid works encompassing at once visual poetry, video-art, sound composition, and computer animation. They are indebted to concrete poetry, motion graphics and film credits. They are also digital meditations, which draw on traditional poetic content: vulnerability, knowledge, innocence, loneliness. “Spreeder: For EPC20 4am-5am Sept 11th 2014” is a generative work: a real-time hour-long screen-grab of a poetry generator writing approx 4,000 poems (using 10,557 poem corpus from PoetryFoundation as templates for word replacement).


I consider myself a poet/programmer/visual artist. In this entropic era, digital skills and tools open an estuary for idiosyncratic explorations.

Eduardo Kac created holopoetry (holographic poetry) in 1983. He uses holography to produce poems with syntactical space-time oscillations. In a body of work produced until 1993, Kac explored the fluctuations of the gazing act and the appearance/disappearance of the text relative to the viewer’s movement. Parallel to his holopoetry, since 1982 Kac has also created a series of digital poems. In 1985 he started to create and publish dynamic poems online (through the Minitel system). Kac’s digital poems can be read on his site: < >. In 2002 Kac wrote the “Biopoetry” manifesto, through which he proposed “the use of biotechnology and living organisms in poetry as a new realm of verbal, paraverbal and nonverbal creation.” He has exhibited his biopoems worldwide.  In 2011 he published Aromapoetry, a book with twelve olfactory poetic compositions, to be read literally with the nose. Kac’s book Holopoetry was published in 1995, in a limited edition. His poetry was collected in the book Hodibis Potax, published in 2007 by Action Poétique, Paris. In 1996 Kac published the first book on digital poetry, entitled New Media Poetry: Poetic Innovation and New Technologies; the second (expanded) edition was published as: Media Poetry: An International Anthology (Intellect Books, Bristol, 2007).


In conversation with Simone Osthoff, Kac had this to say about his transgenic art: I use the processes of life in entirely different ways than a gardener or a laboratory professional. In my case, I create life that, in addition to having the same ontological status of all life, also has a semantic charge that is non-biological—the meanings that are inflected by the artwork. And, as has always been the case in the history of art, each artwork helps the artist build, in the course of a lifetime, his or her own poetic or philosophical visual and experiential universe.


I create artworks in which, first and foremost, I produce visual pieces and experiential circumstances that come from my own, individual, subjective poetic universe, and seek to resonate emotionally and cognitively with viewers and participants, while asking fundamental questions about what it means to be human in the twenty-first century and beyond. At the same time, the works are more than questions: they are material realizations, embodiments of my vision of what both art and life in the future will be like. This is important because the work is not the representation of an idea; rather, the work is literally alive like you and I. Therefore, it is both an artwork and an intervention in the real, lived world. The artist creates not objects, but subjects. This sparks a new ethical dimension of art. My work creates in the present a new field for art while prompting society to ask how it will prepare itself to welcome new citizens who will be, themselves, clones and transgenics. [from “Eduardo Kac at IVAM : A Conversation with the Artist” <]


Bhanu Kapil is a British [Indian] writer who teaches in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado. She is the author of five full-length collections: The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press), Incubation: a space for monsters (Leon Works), humanimal [ a project for future children] (Kelsey Street Press), Schizophrene (Nightboat Books), and BAN (Nightboat Books, 2014).


The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers began as a questionnaire, conducted by chance over a period of three years whenever I encountered an Indian or Indian-looking woman during my journeys to Chile, India, the U.S. and England in the 1990s. I asked one or two questions at first: "Who was responsible for the suffering of your mother?" and "Who are you and who do you love?" I wrote down the answers in my notebook, tracking the names and contact information of the women and girls I met -- asking them if they would mind if I included their language in a book I was writing. As I imagined it, the book was a straightforward document of these scrawled accounts, but as it "built," there was the question of what to do about the fierce desire for anonymity that nearly every women I spoke to expressed. What I was asking about was the body—its intimacies and its history of violence. I did not fully know that at the time. During this time, overlapping, I began to answer the questions myself or to place things I had already written beneath particular questions. Finally, I decided to mix everything together—interpolating answers and parts of answers of different kinds. At that time, I also wanted to avoid making my own writing, from and through the body, explicit or available to members of my own Indian family. How can form be an antidote to shame, to exposure, to the risk of having a body at all? What has happened, though, in time, is that women of many different kinds, from worlds I never imagined, have found my book and lived out the questions for themselves: as writing prompts in the deepest sense. I feel so grateful to the vision of Kelsey Street Press in publishing a work by an unknown, non-U.S. writer. Their trust and support were fundamental to my decision to make a life here, as an experimental writer of some kind. Writing and making The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers would change my life, though, as with so much else, I did not know it at the time. "Tell me what you know about dismemberment." "Describe a morning you woke without fear." And so on. I would like to do the project again, but more openly and with the names of the women involved; I'd like to expand to a larger community of women of color—here in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Perhaps the world has changed. Perhaps a new kind of writing has become possible after all


Douglas Kearney has published seven books, including, Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry and silver medalist for the California Book Award (Poetry). BOMB says: Buck Studies "remaps the 20th century in a project that is both lyrical and epic, personal and historical.” M. NourbeSe Philip calls Kearney’s collection of libretti, Someone Took They Tongues. (Subito, 2016), “a seismic, polyphonic mash-up that disturbs the tongue.” Kearney’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” Starts Spinning (Rain Taxi), a chapbook of poetry, saw publication in 2019. His most recent collection is Sho (Wave, 2021). Fodder, an LP featuring Kearney and frequent collaborator/SoundChemist, Val Jeanty, was published by Fonograf Editions (2021).

His work is widely anthologized, and has been exhibited at the American Jazz Museum, Temple Contemporary, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and The Visitor’s Welcome Center (Los Angeles). A librettist, Kearney has had four operas staged, most recently Sweet Land, which received rave reviews from The LA Times, The NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The LA Weekly. He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. A Howard University and CalArts alum, Kearney teaches Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. Born in Brooklyn, raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in St. Paul.

Hank Lazer has published twenty-six books of poetry, including Thinking in Jewish (N20) (2017), Poems Hidden in Plain View (2016, in English and in French), Brush Mind: At Hand (2016), N24 (2014) and N18 (2012), Portions (2009), The New Spirit (2005), Elegies & Vacations (2004), and Days (2002). Selected Poems and Essays of Hank Lazer, completed by a group of translators, was published by Central China Normal University Press in 2015. Lazer’s Selected Poems have also been published in Italy and will be appearing shortly in Cuba (including 11 tracks for jazz-poetry improvisations with soprano saxophonist Andrew Raffo Dewar). Readings and interviews can be accessed through PennSound as well as in special issues of Plume #34 and Talisman #42. In 2015, Lazer was selected to receive Alabama’s most prestigious literary prize, the Harper Lee Award, for lifetime achievement in literature. His books of criticism include Opposing Poetries (two volumes, 1996) and Lyric & Spirit: Selected Essays 1996-2008 (2008). With Charles Bernstein, he edits the Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series for the University of Alabama Press. Lazer retired from the University of Alabama in January 2014 from his positions as Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, Executive Director of Creative Campus, and Professor of English.


Since the mid-1980s, I have been (serially) inventing a form and living with that form either for a specified number of poems (as in ten poems each for INTER(IR)RUPTIONS, Negations, Displayspace, etc.) or for a specified duration of time (as in a year-and-a-day for Days). I have referred elsewhere (see Lyric & Spirit, pp. 172-176) to this process as serial heuristics: inhabiting a form to discover what might be learned through and from it.


“INTER(IR)RUPTIONS 5,” written in 1989, is part of ten-poem series of collage-poems incorporating diverse word-materials, from baseball batting averages to neurophysiology research, from hog futures to a solicitation from a literary agent. In the case of IR 5, the found materials are from my step-daughter’s reading materials: Seventeen magazine. My poetry, which for the first fifteen years of my writing had been typically a rather traditional, plainspoken, single-voice set of personal narratives, shifted directions radically, in part inspired by David Antin’s writings about the centrality of collage in many innovative twentieth-century art forms. IR 5 is written in the shape of a square; the middle section ultimately finds a defining subject matter as it moves toward a reporting and analysis of the events taking place in Tiananmen Square. I still think that one of the great virtues of a collage methodology is that the poem is not so insistently focused upon self-expression.


“Dream” and “Torah” are from Portions (2009). The invented form for each Portions-poem is 3 X 18 = 54 words, the building block of 18 being a mystical Jewish number. I followed the Torah-portion mode of naming by picking a key word as the title for each poem. For approximately six years I wrote exclusively in this fifty-four word form. Among many modes of learning, the form of Portions, particularly the very short lines, made me think more fully about the multiple possibilities of line breaks—the way the line break offers both a discontinuity and a space through which one reads to connect. “Dream” is one of several poems in Portions that makes use of the thinking and vocabulary of Arakawa and Gins (particularly from their book Architectural Body).


Since October 2006, I have been working on The Notebooks (of Being & Time), handwritten notebooks (of varying sizes). The Notebook writings are improvisational (i.e., no drafts) with each page assuming a different shape while also incorporating ongoing readings in Heidegger (notebooks 1-10), Levinas (notebooks 11-20), Merleau-Ponty (Notebooks 21-30), and Dogen (31-present).


Nam Le's first book, The Boat, received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize for Literature, the NSW Premier's Literary Award for Book of the Year, the Pushcart Prize, the Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, a U.S. National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Fiction Selection, as well as other awards, fellowships and shortlistings. The Boat was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and Editor's Choice, the #1 fiction book of 2008 by The Oregonian, the best debut of 2008 by New York Magazine, and a book of the year by numerous venues around the world including The Guardian, The Independent, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, The National Post, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Amazon and Publishers Weekly. The Boat has been translated into fourteen languages and its stories widely anthologised, adapted and taught.

Stacey Levine has written four works of fiction: The Girl with Brown Fur, Frances Johnson, Dra---, and My Horse and Other Stories. A Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of a PEN/West (now PEN/Center USA) Fiction Award and a Stranger Genius Award for Literature, her fiction has appeared in Fence, Tin House, The Fairy Tale Review, The Washington Review, The Iowa Review, Yeti, and others. She is working on a new novel.


I made cut-outs of lines from Heraclitus' Fragments--parts of the lines that seemed the most powerful & mysterious to me at the time. Those which drew me in the most. After writing an early version of "And You Are," I lay the cut-up lines into the story in soft places where there was space to accommodate the ideas. It was incredibly fun to play with this.


So for example the line about skeletal bones being both a connected whole and segmented, that is from Fragment 112, and the line about sleepers contributing to the world is from Fragment 124 (Harris translation).


Nathaniel Mackey was born in Miami, Florida, in 1947, and grew up, from age four, in California. He is the author of six books of poetry, the most recent of which is Blue Fasa; an ongoing prose work, From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, the fifth and most recent volume of which is Late Arcade; and two books of criticism, the most recent of which is Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews. He is the editor of the literary magazine Hambone and coeditor (with Art Lange) of the anthology Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose.


I write primarily in an open, serial mode, whether in verse or in prose. Over the course of years my writing has come to be concentrated in three ongoing works: the serial poem Song of the Andoumboulou, the serial poem “Mu” and a series of epistolary novels collectively titled From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate. Seriality and ongoingness offer a break from assumptions of a bounded, self-sufficient work, accenting the fact that pieces are in fact pieces and thus dependent on one another, porous to one another, insisting on provisionality and evolving relations among parts. Pieces within a series lean on each other and the series themselves lean on each other, so that Song of the Andoumboulou and “Mu” relate to and resonate with one another while doing so with From a Broken Bottle as well. I approach my writing as “of a piece” in more senses than one, admittedly fractional but wanting to imply the proverbial whole the parts fail to add up to.


Ben Marcus is the author of The Flame Alphabet, Notable American Women, The Father Costume, and The Age of Wire and String. He is also the author of a collection short stories, Leaving the Sea (Knopf, 2014). His short stories have appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Electric Literature, Granta, The Believer, McSweeney's, Conjunctions, and Tin House. He is editor of The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction, three Pushcart Prizes, the Berlin Prize, and awards from Creative Capital and The American Academy of Arts and Letters. Since 2000 he has been on the faculty at Columbia University.


Marcus explained to HTMLGIANT, “I seem to write about language a lot. Language as a physical substance with deviant powers. A powder, a drug, a wind, a medicine. I can’t really help it… In the end I want to write things that I don’t know how to write, because this seems to command the most energy and desire and attention from me. It makes me sort of sick with anxiety. When I’m uncomfortable and confused and curious I tend to try much harder to figure things out.”  [ ]


Michael Martone was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Growing up in Indiana, a teenaged Martone, along with many of his age-mates, took summer time employment in the agricultural sector of the state’s economy. It was a “right of passage” to ride the mechanical carriers through the extensive seed corn fields that surrounded the nearby small town of Winesburg, Indiana, detasseling the plant in order to produce hybridized strains of the grain. Martone enjoyed drifting above the tasseling plants, the ocean of vinyl green corn, a vortex swirling around him. He usually worked in fields planted in 4:1 panels, four female rows of one variety to be detasseled and one bull row left to pollinate. The blocks created a wavy pattern in the fields he sailed over carefully unspooling the threads of the tassels from the tangle of leaves the machines had missed. At other times he rouged as well, walking the shaded rows searching for the volunteer starts and preventing their undesirable pollen from taking root in the precious hybridizing. At night, after the long day of gleaning every strand from every plant, Martone would dream he was a dusty bee or a caked butterfly, staggering from one forest of tassels to the next into the chromatic confusion of the morning. And in the fall, after school had started up again, he returned to the now harvested fields, the sharp stubble laced with frost, and huddled under the scratchy wool blankets in the back of an old buckboard bumping through the empty fields near the small town of Winesburg, a passenger on one of the last real hayrides in Indiana, and whispered to the girl beside him the intricate secrets of the intriguing sex life of corn.


This is one of the pieces collected in Winesburg, Indiana, a hybrid anthology that is both a collection of my stories and an anthology of two dozen other writers asked to write a story set in a town I created. The collection nods to Winesburg, Ohio, 100 years after that important book’s debut, and to Spoon River Anthology. The original idea for the project, proposed by my co-editor, Bryan Furuness of Booth Magazine, was to do a parody of the intense contemporary memoirs such as Liar’s Club or The Kiss. I thought that those kinds of memoirs were beyond satire and instead proposed a whole town of mini-memoirists and created this sad village on the glacial plain of northeastern Indiana. The radio station is WOWO. The television station is WEEP. It is a very sad town where even if the populace does not whine it, at least, worries.


Carole Maso is the author of ten books including the novels The Art Lover, AVA, Defiance and Mother & Child; essays, Break Every Rule; poems in prose, Aureole and Beauty is Convulsive and a memoir The Room Lit By Roses. She is Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University. She is completing work on two novels: The Italian Pavilion and Blue Room and continues work on her magnus opus The Bay of Angels.


"Deer" is an excerpt from my novel Mother & Child, a book written in a near trance after a transfiguring event in my life. At night during a terrible storm, an enormous ancient maple tree beside my house split and came crashing in, and from it a torrent of bats entered the house where I was home alone with my young daughter. With this it was as if a scrim had lifted between myself and the world and I could see suddenly all that had always been there but had remained invisible and off limits to me. Day after day I wrote down as if by dictation the things I saw relentlessly unfolding within me and before me. It was a time of great fear and suffering but also a time of extraordinary wonder. When eventually after years the scrim came back down and I was separated once more from that world, I felt relief but also a terrible loss which continues to haunt. Now, only the book remains.

Harry Mathews settled in Europe in 1952 and has since then lived in Spain, Germany, Italy, but chiefly France. In 1978 he returned to the United States to teach for several years at Bennington College, Columbia University, and the New School University. Married to the French writer Marie Chaix, he divided his time between Paris and Key West. When Mathews published his first poems in 1956, he was associated with the so-called New York School of poets, with three of whom (John Ashbery, Keneth Koch, James Schuyler) he founded the review Locus Solus in 1961. Through his friendship with Georges Perec, he became a member of the OuLiPo in 1972, and was the only American member for decades. The author of six novels and several collections of poetry, his most recent publications are Sainte Catherine, a novella written in French (Éditions P.O.L, 2000), The Human Country: the Collected Short Stories (Dalkey Archive Press, 2002), The Case of the Persevering Maltese: Collected Essays (Dalkey Archive Press, 2003), Oulipo Compendium (co-edited with Alastair Brotchie; Atlas Press and Make Now Press, 2005), and My Life in CIA: A Chronicle of 1973 (Dalkey Archive Press, 2005).


In conversation with Lynne Tillman, Mathews has said, “Writers should go with what subject matter appeals to them, with what tickles them because that probably will be the kind of subject matter that will give them most access to the process of discovery; of what they are, or the world is, or language is. You must have had that experience as a writer yourself. As you rewrite something, nothing in substance is changed and yet it’s not just that you’re making it neater or more elegant. It’s become something totally different in the third draft. And, in fact, that’s what you wanted to say. Even though all the material was there in the first draft, and you got it all down, it wasn’t doing what you wanted it to do. Rewriting is so extraordinary, it’s where writing, not always, but very often, takes place. That’s when the writer becomes the first reader. Becomes a creator. If the reader is the only creator, the writer gets to share and in fact participates in that act of creation in the stage of rewriting. That’s when the writer can play creator, too. The old idea is hard to get rid of, that the writers have something to say and the readers are there to get it. I don’t think things work that way at all.” [ ]


Steve McCaffery is the author of over 40 books and chapbooks of poetry and criticism including Parsival (2016 Roof Books), Dark Ladies (2016 Chax Press), Alice in Plunderland (2015 BookThug), Tatterdemalion: A Sketchbook for Syntax (2014 Veer Editions), The Darkness of the Present (2012 University of Alabama Press), and Verse & Worse (2010 Wilfred Laurier University Press). He was a founding member of the legendary sound-text ensemble Four Horsemen, and founding member (with bp Nchol) of TRG (Toronto Research Group) and a founding theorist of Language Writing. He has read and performed his work internationally and has been translated into Portuguese, Serbian, French, Spanish, German and Swedish.


I consider “White Pages” a text to be sounded. Composed in the 1980s, the work consists of the first three-letters from the head-names at the top of each pge of the Toronto Telephone Directory. Each page of the directory generates two units e.g. “Brown to Bruno” produced “Bro Bru.” The truncation was designed to establish a symmetry in look and rhythm as well as repurpose a fragment of reference as a unit of a sound poem. The columnar arrangement of the text is to allow a performer to sound the piece either alphabetically (by reading down each column in order) or horizontal (to create a transversal effect). A second version taken from the Buffalo White Pages was produced and performed on 12 September 2009 as part of the International Colloquium “Urbanités Littéraires / Cityscapes—Literary Escapes” organized by Jean-Jacques Thomas and held in Buffalo I consider the work precisely such a “cityscape,” a panoramic naming of all of a city’s listed citizens, as well as a reflection on banality and the serialization of human life into lists and numbers. At least one recorded version exists and can be checked out on my author’s page at PennSound:


Richard McGuire is a multidisciplinary artist who has produced an enormously diverse body of work, including children's books, animated films, toys, comics, and sound sculpture installations. McGuire is also co-founder and bassist for the seminal post-punk band Liquid Liquid, His work has been featured in McSweeney’s, The New York Times, Le Monde, Libération, and on numerous covers of The New Yorker. His deeply influential short story Here, published in 1989 by Art Spiegelman in the magazine Raw, was reinvented and released as a graphic novel in 2014.


Michael Mejia is the author of the novels TOKYO and Forgetfulness, and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, he is editor-in-chief of Western Humanities Review, co-founding editor of Ninebark Press, and a professor of English at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, where he lives with his wife and their Jack Russell Terrier.


David Melnick was born in Urbana, Illinois, in 1938 and has lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, with extended sojourns in New York, France, Spain and Greece. He was educated at the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley. He is homosexual and a classical music enthusiast, and he worked for many years as a copy editor for the San Francisco Chronicle. He wrote four collections of poetry: Eclogs, Pcoet, Men in Aida Books I, II and III, and A Pin’s Fee.


Men in Aida is a homophonic translation into English of the first three books of The Iliad. It is dedicated to the memory of Melnick’s lover, David Doyle.


Nick Montfort develops computational art and poetry, often collaboratively. His poetry books include #! and Riddle & Bind, and he co-wrote 2×6 and 2002: A Palindrome Story. His more than fifty digital projects include the collaborations The Deletionist (with Amaranth Borsuk and Jesper Juul), Sea and Spar Between (with Stephanie Strickland), and the Renderings project (with many international collaborators). His collaborative and individual books from the MIT Press are: The New Media Reader, Twisty Little Passages, Racing the Beam, 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, and recently Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities. His latest books of computer-generated poetry are 2x6 (a multilingual collaboration with six others) and Autopia. He lives in New York and Boston, offers naming services as Nomnym, and is a professor at MIT.


I began writing a series of very short Perl programs to generate poems since late 2007. Each program in my ppg256 (Perl poetry generator in 256 characters) series consists of exactly 256 characters of code. Each one can be run on the command line on any system that has Perl installed. The programs use no data sources except for strings in the code itself; no other programs or special libraries are invoked.


The use of non-traditional constraints in the writing process was championed by the French mathematical and literary group, the Oulipo. Founder Raymond Queneau described members of the group as “rats who must escape from the labyrinth they construct,” while Italo Calvino said “an Oulipian writer ... runs faster when there are hurdles on the track.” In ppg256, the concept of writing under constraint, as developed by the Oulipo and many others, is joined to the practice of programming.


Using Perl provided one significant constraint on programming determined at the beginning of the series. Perl is not known for supporting clarity or consistency, and has been called a “write-only” language. On the other hand, it is widely used, flexible, and well-adapted to text processing. And, programs can be written very compactly in Perl. This is reflected in an online, competitive recreation, Perl golf, in which programmers vie to write the smallest program that accomplishes a specific task.


The other main constraint, the 256 character limit, was particularly inspired by the demoscene, where coders work to develop amazing process-intensive generators of music videos for specific platforms. On the major demoscene site, it's possible to download numerous length-constrained demos, including 256 bytes; all of these limits are powers of two, for reasons that relate to the material nature of computers.


In developing ppg256-1 I attempted to create a program whose output would be recognized by a receptive reader as a series of poems. I did not attempt to create poems like those that people usually produce. To accomplish this, I found it essential to use some of the very limited amount of code producing titles, shaping the language into lines, and printing blank lines between the single-stanza poems. Generating an interesting stream of words was not enough to signal that the text was meant to be a poem or series of poems. Sketching different versions of the generator revealed to me, experimentally, the importance of these formal poetic markers. I have maintained most of them throughout most of the generators in the series.


In other programs I engage with greater lexical and syntactical variety, with compound words, with the material limits of an LED sign, with one of the Dada manifestos, with the time, and with Samuel Beckett's second novel, Watt.


Harryette Mullen teaches courses in African American literature, American poetry, and creative writing at UCLA. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been published widely and reprinted in over one hundred anthologies, including several published by Norton, Oxford, Cambridge, and Penguin presses. Her work has been selected four times for the Best American Poetry anthology series edited by David Lehman with guest editors A.R. Ammons, Robert Hass, Terrance Hayes, and Robert Pinsky. She is a recipient of a Jackson Poetry Prize, United States Artist Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Katherine Newman Award for Best Essay on Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States, and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Poetry. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Polish, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, Bulgarian, and Kyrgyz. She has published seven poetry books, including Recyclopedia (Graywolf), winner of a PEN Beyond Margins Award, and Sleeping with the Dictionary (University of California), a finalist for a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A collection of her essays and interviews, The Cracks Between What We Are and What We Are Supposed to Be, was published by the University of Alabama Press. Her  recent collection of poetry, Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary, was published by Graywolf Press.


“The mind at play in Sleeping With the Dictionary takes the reader through a wild amusement park of stoppages and re-starts. Mullen guides the reader on a Grand Tour of fun house antics. The gaiety of the mind, of the poesis, flitters and yet never reads as slight. Humor is employed, yes. Trickery and riddle take center stage quite often. Yes. Still, at the heart of this book beats a heart of darkness that never loses sight of its literary objectives nor its political aesthetics.” [from The Rumpus.]


R. Henry Nigl. Born 1944, Saginaw, Michigan, he attended colleges in Central Michigan area, and began pursuing art seriously at age sixteen. He's exhibited at 1969 All-Michigan Biennial, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan. His shows inclued: a retrospective show, Delta College Galleria, University Center, Michigan, and the Maine Biennial, University of Southern Maine, Goham, Maine, and a site specific installation and first shout performance, 'Mt. Battie Shout', 1975, Camden Hills State Park, Camden, Maine. He's maintained active careers in architecture, advertising and design 1968-2003, while continuing work as an artist. During the late seventies he created 'Shout' performances. He no longer performs, but, continues making visual art focusing on CGI and digital imagery specifically for the Internet.


A Shout begins in the gut, and emanates from your mouth, your entire body, in fact. A Shout begins with introspective focus, doubles you over with emotion and spurts meaning in a very loud way.


‘Shouts' as an artistic and semi-literary form, are intended as a structured verbal form, perhaps akin to punctuation. Shouts are not screams. Shouts contain specific references to some ‘thing‘ or event or idea, they have content and a subject, screams do not and are more abstract.


The lineage of Shouts is more through the visual arts than the literary. Concrete and found poetry were not significant influences, for me, nor was the important beat poetry like Alan Ginsberg's, 'Howl'.


Shouts are an improvisational form of verbalization of visual expression coming out of the late 60s 'Happenings' performances by Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg and Jim Dine, and, perhaps the props and sets of Robert Rauschenberg created for Merce Cunningham's dances. Certainly there is a nod to the music of John Cage, the sound performances of Max Neuhaus, the ‘performance’ paintings of Yves Klein, and of course, the incredible impact of Marcel Duchamp's history changing work.


How to convey the substance of visual experience into aural meaning? I had begun writing narrative and poetry to accompany floor placed plaster and gelatin sculptures, or maybe they were paintings - the intent of the narrative with props like loose hanging sheets, oscillating fans, audio tones, string, direct drawing on the plaster and cutting the gelatin, all actions meant to enhance the 'meaning' of something seemingly an abstraction, at best, possibly nonsensical, at worse.


Ambiguity, irony, couched in double entendre, vocal gestures, sound, to define space with meaning.


I’m a storyteller, I guess naturally, it always felt right, but I really didn’t refine the craft until I was in my 60’s. A Shout is a story, a very short story, in fact a short, short, story, in under thirty seconds, leaving the audience barely able to say, “What?”


Arthur Nishimoto is a doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science and Research Assistant at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research interests include user interaction on large scalable resolution display environments, virtual reality, and video game design. He has previously developed interactive applications on the EVL Cyber-Commons multi-touch wall including the 20-foot Virtual Canvas and Fleet Commander which has been exhibited at SIGGRAPH and Supercomputing. He is currently working on user interface design for large multi-touch walls as well as designing immersive interactive applications for the CAVE2TM Hybrid-Reality Environment. (See Scott Rettberg for statement on Hearts and Minds.)

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