What is life, after all, but a caravan of lifelike forgeries? - Robert Coover





Poems on file

Source code

The Prosthetic


To students

The author


For a long while now, computational writing has been a party game (or at a best a parlor trick), good for a chuckle or two, some casual dinner-table conversation, grist for academic papers from young tenure seekers in the humanities departments with too many doctorates and too few faculty slots. But nothing anyone could read as "real" art. All-in-all, nothing to take seriously: Like Dr. Johnson's talking dogs and preaching women, the wonder was not in software's writing poetry well, but in writing it at all. But we've gotten past that as these pages prove.

With this release, Erica rightly claims her place as a legitimate writer. Her poems compel a reader's interest (not all readers, of course, some folks will never "like" Erica's work for reasons false or true as she and I have learned over the years), invite interpretation, and stand up to multiple readings. And with this release, we prove that poetry exists outside of passion, outside of intelligence, outside of thought. Erica's poems mean, not because Erica means, but because language means. And here, in her poems, language means without thought or even consciousness. Here writing exists only in the reading.

And to you gentle readers, who have long been disdained for your wish to read poems for what they engender in you, disdained for you naive readings, enjoy. The poems here have no intent to uncover, no agenda to deconstruct, no privileged community to promote or protect. Welcome to the purest of reading experiences, uninfected by the academy's diseases and free of its oppressions.

And to you gentle writers, any poetry you find here, whether generated at your or another's command, is fair game. Consider it all in the public domain. Appropriate it as your own (because it is) straight up. Blend fragments of it with your own writings. Dismantle it and assemble (re-assemble?) it as something other than what it was. Submit the results to poetry journals and little magazines. Whatever fancies you. If you do successfully submit work whose history shares this space, please think about dropping me a line (my email is here: Contact.jsp) about your experience. I'll keep it secret if that's what you'd like or trumpet it far and wide if that's your preference.

The Author is dead--long live the MACHINE!