Infinite Verse

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Infinite literature is abundant, often conceptually simple, and often formally easy to understand. For critics and poets to explore infinite forms of literature further, it is important to clarify their essentials. In this discussion I will describe properties of infinite (or, to phrase it differently, “boundless”) poetry. I specifically consider verse — poetry which, when composed, is “turned” into lines in some typical or unconventional way. These verse works, or segmented verbal works, need not be digital: There are many infinite artworks that are not based on digital computation or even what people would usually describe as “technology,” while there are many finite (bounded) artworks that are computational. Some of the works I will cover are thought of as prose fictions, but I will demonstrate that to attain boundlessness they need at least one turn of the sort that is characteristic of verse. With reference to some works in sound and visual art, I will explore several types of ultimately quite understandable infinite verse: Simple loops of language; verse with endlessly repeating generated lines, stanzas, or other structures of language; transformations of sequences which, although they may be finite, may also be infinite; fractal (endlessly self-similar) verse.

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Nick Montfort