Thursday, March 14, 2013


As the DEAR NAVIGATOR site states:

"Sea and Spar Between is a poetry generator which defines a space of language populated by a number of stanzas comparable to the number of fish in the sea, around 225 trillion. Each stanza is indicated by two coordinates, as with latitude and longitude. They range from 0 : 0 to 14992383 : 14992383."


"The words in Sea and Spar Between come from Emily Dickinson’s poems and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Certain compound words (kennings) are assembled from words used frequently by one or both."


There is a strange beauty built into the fabric of these stanzas. Some work better than others, but they each sing a note that is in harmony with their source works and with one another.

This is a map of sorts, meant to be viewed. This is a sea of sorts, meant to be navigated. This is a landscape of sorts, meant to be wandered.

I am adrift, floating, staring up at constellations of words.


Sea and Spar Between
by Nick Montfort and Stephanie Strickland


John B. said...

Nick Montfort was a visiting lecturer in one of my MFA classes this quarter. He demonstrated several of his automated writing projects, and used an actual Commodore 64 as his demo machine, which I thought was very cool.

Sometimes I got the feeling from his presentation that creative thinking is too easily replicated with just a few simple algorithms in an old computer. I wondered if writers are on the cusp of obsolescence. At other times I felt exhilarated by the possibility of computer-aided artistry.

I am currently writing a "cover version" oh Montfort's book Riddle & Bind. The process involves reducing the source down to nothing but concrete nouns, preserving their order, an then reconstituting that skeleton with new content of my own devising. So far the practice and results have been pleasing indeed!

I'm glad you discovered Montfort and his work. He is definitely engaged in a series of projects that explore the future of what it means to be an artist.

troysworktable said...

"I wondered if writers are on the cusp of obsolescence."

Probably not. I thought the same thing when I first started exploring Damion Searle's ; or the Whale, which started me on my "Cutting In" project.

I think the exhilaration of any writing, computer-aided or otherwise, is drawing us in and sending us forth, disciples of the word.