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Gnoetry Demo

July 21, 2009

I’ve been without my main Gnoetry machine for a week or so, and have been loath to dig out of the archives again. So, I want to briefly describe the latest Gnoetry demo I made for an intensive creative writing class at NEIU at the behest of fellow Gnoet Olivia Cronk, who has participated in Gnoetic events here in Chicago.

The students displayed the entire range of responses to Gnoetry: that’s not really poetry because there’s no individual creative input; it’s a great play-thing for kids, maybe, but it’s not serious poetry; that’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen; it would have taken me months to come up with a line like that; doesn’t Gnoetry take the real work out of poetry; can I put my own poetry in it; &c.

I gave several of my stock answers, including the idea that all Gnoetry does it distill what all poets do: analyze language that they’ve been given, rewarding and penalizing pieces of that language according to their ability to fit within a certain idea of poetry. The most hard-line anti-Gnoetry person relented a bit when presented with this idea, as well as the idea that we, none of us, have an “individual” language that we invent and compose with–poetry is written with a shared language, and even more so when you are very concerned with a certain notion of literal and transparent meaning. When you are most concerned with clear meaning is in fact when you are least an “individual.” And if that’s the case, then the end-user/Gnoetry relationship, if you must, is a very distinct form of individuality…

One of the most interesting questions was: “Is Gnoetry political?”

Is it?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. erogk7 permalink
    July 30, 2009 8:38 pm

    I think Gnoetry is political, particularly within the realm of poetics, as it does present the end-user/author with a certain idea of poetry of its own. The constraints/options available limit formally what kind of poetry may be created, which is really what all aesthetics do to define themselves–be it through limits of form, content or voice/tone. Gnoetry does assert a certain aesthetic or range of aesthetics, even if this range is quite vast and has the potential for great diversity of styles.

    It can also be political in the more ordinary sense of the word: one can always create source texts (as I have done with Gnoetry and Mchain) that provide politically charged language to be more prevalent in the output, thus steering the poetry that comes out in a more obviously political direction. I have found that I am much more comfortable with making political poems through Gnoetry and Mchain, and I think they are often more successful by these means than those political poems I wrote "on my own." Chad's Katrina poems are a good example of this.

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