Kissing the Steak: The Poetry of Text Generators

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Abstract (in English): 

Syntext, developed by Pedro Barbosa and Abílio Cavalheiro in the early 90s (later partially re-versioned on the World Wide Web), is a collection of fifteen computer programs from the 70s, 80s, and 90s that automatically generate various styles of poetry in DOS. Though the texts made by each of the programs are thematically unrelated, through these pioneering works by Barbosa, Nanni Balestrini, Marcel Bénabou, and others, each of the predominant fundamental attributes of text-generators is clearly divulged. Syntext, despite being primitive on the surface, powerfully brings to light the expressive possibilities, versatility, and variation within permutation texts, and provides sufficient evidence upon which a typology of computer poems can be established.

(Source: abstract of conference presentation)

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Eric Dean Rasmussen