Creative Work
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Poem with computer interventions.

Mac Low created Virginia Woolf Poems using a “diastic” method he developed in 1963, whereby a phrase (or even a word) from a text is chosen, then words in a source text that share the same verbal or letter patterns are extracted and used to create new poetic work. Later, Hartman transformed Mac Low’s arbitrary method, which itself was algorithmic and did not involve random elements, into a computer program named DIASTEXT. The program was capable of rapidly performing the artist’s deterministic tasks once an input text and “seed” phrase are chosen; Mac Low was pleased with the program, and used it to compose many poems and books. Using a combination of the TRAVESTY and DIASTEXT programs, Hugh Kenner and Hartman assembled a book of poems called Sentences (1995) in which source text is a nineteenth-century grammar book that was run through TRAVESTY “a number of times” then underwent DIASTEXT’s “spelling through” process. Each piece begins with a two hundred and fifty-word text generated by TRAVESTY, followed by DIASTEXT’s manipulation of that text into poetry.

(Source: Chris Funkhouser, "Le(s) Mange Texte(s): Creative Cannibalism and Digital Poetry")

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Meri Alexandra Raita