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Gnoetry End-User Gnowledge

April 21, 2009

From April 20: “I’m deliberately using several sources in combination now, with little intent to make any intertextual statement. Is this merely an issue of authorial intent (and the number of sources being used), or should a gnoet be more aware of the original texts that are being combined/re-written/recycled with Gnoetry?”

From where I stand, one of the points of Gnoetry is to destablize a privileged notion of what it means to be a) creative and b) a poet. Gnoetry is most successful when an end-user who has never written a poem, professes to hate poetry, and hasn’t read a single text in the database walks away from her experience with Gnoetry and says: “I feel like a poet!” (This has happened on several occasions, by the way). A non-creative response to the text or texts will automatically create an “intertextual statement” in part because the poem is going to be read by the final author of the gnoem, the reader, and also because this form of statement is an unavoidable consequence of the gnoetic process since the texts have been recombined historically. Texts are not themselves canonical; canonicity is an invented and arbitrary ideology. To call a text “canonical” is to argue that it’s static and its history is frozen. Gnoetry is a diachronic engine, rendering the text as it is at the moment of its recombination. This infuses the statistically analyzed texts with new meaning; the canon has been wrung out of the text.

Gnoetry is a style of reading (wreading, perhaps) and so once one has used a text gnoetically, one has read it. What’s more interesting to me is the effect of what I’ve called “gestalt markers” on the readers of gnoems; that is, what does a reader do when she comes across a character name she recognizes in any given gnoem? How does that change the reading of the poem? What gaps will the reader’s conscious mind fill in with details from the known text(s)?

For more on all of this, see http://p-queue.org/vol-5 (no online version of the article, alas)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Erok7 permalink
    April 24, 2009 3:10 pm

    “[O]ne of the points of Gnoetry is to destablize a privileged notion of what it means to be a) creative and b) a poet.”

    I totally agree. Over the past few years, this issue of privilege in voice, form and aesthetic have increasingly bothered me. Gnoetry is certainly a way to get away from that. Having completed a “creative writing program” now, I also am very familiar with this privilege that is hard to separate from the very concept of such a program.

    I am also delighted when people who do not see themselves as “poets” use processes like Gnoetry or Google-sculpting to create a work that delights them. I had my class do Google-sculpting, and one of them told me that she has written four more Google poems just for fun. It makes the act of writing less privileged by bringing down to the level of almost a mental game or exercise, but whose product may be of great pleasure to its creator/user and others whom it may be shared with.

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