Pub. Date:
Wesleyan University Press
Virtual Muse / Edition 1

Virtual Muse / Edition 1

by Charles O. HartmanCharles O. Hartman


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In this engaging, accessible memoir, Charles Hartman shows how computer programming has helped him probe poetry's aesthetic possibilities. He discusses the nature of poetry itself and his experiences with primitive computer-generated poetry programs and -- illustrated with sample computer-produced verses -- traces the development of more advanced hardware and software.

The central question about this cyber-partnership, Hartman says, "isn't exactly whether a poet or a computer writes the poem, but what kinds of collaboration might be interesting." He examines the effects of randomness, arbitrariness, and contingency on poetic composition, concluding that "the tidy dance among poet and text and reader creates a game of hesitation. In this game, a properly programmed computer has a chance to slip in some interesting moves."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819522399
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication date: 01/16/2009
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 172
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

CHARLES O. HARTMAN is Professor of English and Poet in residence at Connecticut College, author of Glass Enclosure (Wesleyan Poetry, 1995) and Jazz Text (1991), and coauthor of Sentences (1995). His prose program is available on the World Wide Web. Hartman’s memoirs about how computer programming helped him probe poetry’s aesthetic possibilities.

Table of Contents

Start with Computers
Start with Poetry
The Sinclair ZX8 I
Appendix: Monologues of Soul & Body
Seventy-Six Assertions and Sixty-Three Questions
Dance Text
Extraordinary Instruments

What People are Saying About This

Thomas M. Disch

“Charles Hartman's colloquial ease and his ability to move readily into metaphorical overdrive without seeming fanciful are a constant source of pleasure. He writes graceful, jargon-free prose on a subject that often —
especially in the hands of the 'language poets' and their apologists — inspires only cant and obfuscation. Hartman is the Amerigo Vespucci of a whole new intellectual territory, and Virtual Muse is a map worth studying.”

George P. Landow

“Hartman takes a clear, intelligent, interesting, accessible approach to relating computers to culture and writing. His delightful opening chapter really pulls one into his subject; he keeps us there by his easy, often graceful way of explaining aspects of computing, poetic theory and practice, and the implications of what he is doing.”

Hugh Kenner

“In Virtual Muse Charles Hartman tells us a lucid minimum about what programs do, in the course of setting before us much that we may never have suspected about the inner secrets of poetry. It's a rich and rewarding book.”

Customer Reviews