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Two Tunes of Iraq

July 15, 2011

These two poems, generated in Gnoetry, are inspired by Chirstopher Logue’s reversions of Homer, War Music and All Day Permanent Red. Using Pope’s translation of the Iliad, chunks WikiLeaks’ “Iraq War Logs,” and other miscellaneous source texts, I’ve done my best to let the collaboration with Gnoetry produce war poems that seek the gravity of Homer while keeping the truncated, smattered style of the redacted war logs. It was a lot of fun and I hope to continue the project.

Fri Jul 8 18:09:35 2011

atdonovan & Gnoetry

Update: the last attack. The efforts to
protect the local schools. The road in which
the breathless hero lay; a buried cache.

The injured and the shrine. Update: received
a call. The gods in place, the firing of
the firing of a second hand. The truck,

the blast. The fact the same. The blasted. Now,
Ulysses seeks the realms below! The last
attack in vain. The lost update the skies.


Various (WikiLeaks), The Iraq War Logs Redacted
The Internet, Linux HOWTOs
Homer (translated by Alexander Pope), The Iliad

Fri Jul 15 09:28:15 2011

atdonovan and Gnoetry

Boy, with ample cities
and the name of Hector,
fire fills their eyes: the

rest to Achilles, to
fuck you all day. The last
activity in the

area is smarting.
Keep it all. Rash, gooey
strand of Agamemnon.


Homer (translated by Alexander Pope), The Iliad
The Internet, Indian Erotica
Various (WikiLeaks), The Iraq War Logs Redacted

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Eric Elshtain permalink
    July 17, 2011 10:21 pm

    Awesome! “…gooey/strand of Agamemnon” is the line of the summer.

  2. July 19, 2011 2:50 am

    Great stuff. I particularly like the first one. In the second poem, “fuck you” seems a little out of place; “gooey strand” in the next stanza offers many better readings.

    We’ve had a bit of discussion here about the extent to which you should let your tools constrain you, i.e. whether you should feel free to edit the poem after your initial generation sessions. Personally I feel free to do so, as long as I add a note about what kind of processing I did (i.e. “added linebreaks”, “rearranged lines”, “replaced some words”, etc.) At some point, you may want to consider doing some kind of editing of the poems to make them cohere a bit more. Or not; there’s also honor in rigorously following constraints.

    Grain of salt. I like what you’re doing. Look forward to reading any follow-ups.

  3. July 20, 2011 6:02 pm

    Thanks to both of you for your invaluable input. I’ve been a bit swamped with graduate seminar work, but I hope to read the new stuff on the blog soon.

  4. eRoGK7 permalink*
    July 22, 2011 7:26 pm

    I agree with Eric E. “…gooey/strand of Agamemnon” gets my vote for line of the summer too. This is a really good first post for you on the blog. I look forward to more good work (and some terrible stuff, too).

  5. Eric Elshtain permalink
    July 28, 2011 10:43 am

    A late defence for the “fuck you” given the odd grammatical elisions the phrase acts as an insult or the act of being fucked by…war? the fire? the boy?

  6. July 28, 2011 4:51 pm

    Eric, I read it as it’s up to Achilles, now, to fuck you all day. The boy, in this case, I imagined the song of Hector, and his city / people are the ones getting predicated upon. Not sure if that’s the right way to say it; they’re getting fucked, I mean.

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