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Digital Poetry Program: LINEmaker v0.2

August 25, 2015
LINEmaker (2015): The title image for the LINEmaker program, created in LINEmaker.

“LINEmaker” (2015): The title image for the LINEmaker program, created in LINEmaker.

After a long break, I have finally returned to learning the Processing generative/interactive arts programming language. I wrote my first working program, LINEmaker v 0.1, almost two years ago, and finally I have it in a finished form. Version 0.2 is currently available in source code (if you want to run it in Processing 2.2.1 or Processing 3 beta) as well as in Java applications for Windows and Linux systems. You may download these from my Github page.

LINEmaker is meant to be a tool for creating a very specific kind of visual poem (I call them “new lines”) which I began making in the OpenOffice and LibreOffice word processors. Each poem is a single line of text with the font spacing and scale settings set so that the characters are compressed on top of each other and can make lines and blocks (as well as other configurations).

The LINEmaker program is more flexible than LibreOffice, as the user can use the mouse to set the character spacing (with horizontal movement) and the font transparency (with vertical movement). A simple title screen has been added in version 0.2, as well as an editable text field in the main application screen.

Below is an animated gif of a simple new line poem which shows 31 repetitions “hl” as the mouse stretches them across the screen. As I moved the mouse from left to right, the space between each character grew to produce this accordion effect. Click on it to view it in more clearly at its full size.

Caption: “h to H” (2015): An animated gif of a simple new line consisting only of the letters “h” and “l.” The animation shows the poem accordion outward as the mouse moves from left to right.


I hope to make more interactive digital poetry programs as my skills develop. There are some exciting libraries like Rita, Wordnet and NextText that I plan to start working with. In the meantime, download and enjoy the program.

An Illustration, as in Rose goes for the kill (Stein Poem)

August 10, 2015

Rose was a lion.
She had learned to feel it.
The grass does not care to impress us.
Little specks of potential.
Why run around the matter?
     All of us end up dead.

The more you see it, it empties.
Illustration: like blood.
How many things were run down.
So Rose could look proper.
And comfortable.
     But Rose was not like them.

The masters have time to kill.
She doesn’t brag about misfortune.
It’s easy to follow them down.
The grass because the grass is swollen.
Someone who’s in it;
     It sure isn’t pretty.

Composed with Gnoetry 0.2 and the following texts:
Woods Hutchinson, The Child’s Day
Gertrude Stein, The World Is Round
Howard R. Garis, The Curlytops at Uncle Franks Farm


Four Illustrations of Rose (Stein Poems)

July 3, 2015

The following four poems all came from the same instance of Gnoetry 0.2, worked through repeatedly and saved as several variations. I kept certain words or parts of each line as I worked down through the poem each time, later abandoning them if they ceased to work for the emerging poems. I hope to continue making these for a while longer.

1  |  An Illustration, as in Rose on the surface

Rose was not flashy.
So she went on instinct.
The grass did not say so, anyway.
And when you lose touch with them?
Was I awake or not?
     The grass looks like weakness.

The more we all know the body.
Illustration: the heart, a line.
These are the unfaithful.
So throw out your bearings.
And later, the empties.
     No good will come of it.

Those who live on the surface.
It is not any comfort to sing.
These boys are brittle and gloomy.
The grass because grass is over.
Flies are infectious;
     And no one here can sing.


2  |  An Illustration, as in Rose the master

Rose was a master.
So Rose went on instinct.
The grass did not notice the bodies.
Love was not about themselves.
Why should we air our bodies?
     The masters must know.

The more we all like something.
Here is a microscope.
These are the songs they bring.
So she began to sing.
And there was a big room.
     How do we know to sing?

And when you go into the room.
Will you ever see anyone else?
Like some city to some animal.
The grass because grass is easy.
Names are for ourselves;
     And the green plants, too.


3  |  An Illustration, as in Rose in flames

Rose was not enough.
And she did not have more.
The grass did not have to dream or hurt.
It made her clutch the surface.
Why is life like that to you?
     A good place in ruins.

The more we all learn about stuff.
Here it is best for you.
Those who dare to listen.
So Rose had a headache.
And that was one end.
     The hay came down with it.

And when you are all there is.
Will you ever fall into the flame.
People learn to do things their way.
The grass because grass is better.
These are the edges;
     And the others burn.


4  |  An Illustration, as in Rose of the fragile heart

Rose began to smoke.
She never did like the clouds.
The grass does not care if people know.
Little specks of compassion.
Why do they do the right thing?
     Just let them be broken.

The more you can make it better.
Is it any good for others?
They do not want to break.
So Rose would have enough.
And then just try to be.
     But Rose knew how to hide.

This is a heart made of salt.
Every morning it is the same.
Get rid of values and tactics.
The grass because the grass is broken.
Rose is grown hard now;
     And all their hearts as well.

Composed with Gnoetry 0.2 and the following texts:
Woods Hutchinson, The Child’s Day
Gertrude Stein, The World Is Round
Howard R. Garis, The Curlytops at Uncle Franks Farm

Accidental, as in what the lion says (Stein Poem)

June 29, 2015

If a lion could talk, we would not understand him.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein (tr. G.E.M. Anscombe)

She cannot be blue.  There is no blue in general.
Just try it.  So rosy and pink with yourself.
So let us think for now only of meaning.
Dear me the thing is incomprehensible!
Also maybe you are incompatible.
You should never go into long descriptions.
If you hear clearly what the lion says.
Why a lizard or a man may be plainly anxious.
And wild animals have nothing to say to you.
Your imagination full of cuts and trembling.
You are indistinguishable from it.
Just past and above it is by accident.
The definition must be accidental.
The edges of the same place cannot burn twice.

Composed with Gnoetry 0.2 and the following texts:
Gertrude Stein, The World Is Round
Woods Hutchinson, The Child’s Day
Gertrude Stein, Corrected Stanzas in Meditation
Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays

More Free Grass (9 “Haiku”)

June 29, 2015

Only text.  Have we
not stood here like trees in the
eyes of publishers?

I myself do not
drive an engine of free speech
and variety.

It cannot fail.  Code
becomes law; code extends the
control of others.

O manhood, tangled
in the administration
of democracy.

The soul as softness,
possibilities.  Can we
get service at night?

There is no escape
for you and me, but we do
not need the future.

It’s crazy to me
to believe that property
is the dream of life.

I swear I never
had any limit.  Yet there
is no need for me.

More formalities…
if you do not buy it, you
are a miracle.

Composed in collaboration with Gnoetry 0.2 and these texts:
Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Careless, as in a little lonesome Rose (Stein Poem)

June 18, 2015

After a long break, I’ve come back to the Stein Poems series, eventually to become the book same: a Stein wreader. This poem uses Stein’s book, The World Is Round, as its principal source text (weighted 50%). It is a delightful book written for children, although some find it too “difficult” for their reading level (I hate when people use this word to speak about poetry).

Anyways, enjoy.

Well well Rose is a cowboy, too.
With all the legs of little lonesome,
The stars were big and round with glasses.
Almost every school will send for a wagon,
Drawn by the time you see it.
The grass looked like measles on buckskin,
The stars were not always sold there but they still flew.
Draw a picture of its legs,
Janet said, it will stand there.
I am talking about a sick pony in school,
Or it might be called a receiver, you see.
Did you see it there was an O and animals.
Did she see it.  The hours spin away,
For he is careless in winter.
It makes Rose cry and thunder so.

Composed with Gnoetry 0.2 and the following source texts:
Woods Hutchinson, The Child’s Day
Gertrude Stein, The World Is Round
Howard R. Garis, The Curlytops at Uncle Franks Farm

Install the Gnoetry 0.2 on Xubuntu VirtualBox Appliance

June 12, 2015

In an effort to spread the good news of Gnoetry more easily to the masses of Mac and Windows users, I’ve taken on the project this year to prepare an alternative method of getting Gnoetry up and running with minimal obstacles. For Ubuntu or Debian users, things have been simplified now by using git to clone michel-slm’s bug-fix branch of the Gnoetry source files from GitHub, installing a few dependencies and building from the included Makefile (I’ll put together a short set of instructions for that process later this summer). For those not interested in installing Linux on their computers, there is now an alternative.

I have put together an Xubuntu virtual machine which has Gnoetry 0.2 already installed and ready to launch from an icon on the desktop. VirtualBox allows for virtual machines to be exported and shared as “appliances.” You can download the VirtualBox appliance file (2.3 GB) and the PDF installation guide from my main website, here:

Gnoetry 0.2 Virtual Appliance Installation Guide and User Manual

Also included is a user manual for Gnoetry 0.2. Aside from the simple installation of Oracle VirtualBox, an extension pack, and the appliance itself, the only tricky part is optimizing the virtual machine for you system. A complete guide through this process is included in the installation guide.

Test it out yourselves and let me know how it works.