Floetry's Intellectual Roots


	What is imagination? It is the Combining faculty. 
	It brings together things, facts, conceptions 
	in new, original, endless, ever-varying combinations.

-- Ada Lady Lovelace, 1841 (The Innovators’ by Walter Isaacson)

        phlo·em
        /ˈflōˌem/
        noun [Botany]
        vascular tissue in plants that conducts sugars 
        and other metabolic products downward from the leaves.

-- Google Dictionary

Literary Roots

John Clark In July 1845, British curiosity-seekers headed to London’s Egyptian Hall to try out the novelty of the summer. For the price of one shilling, they could stand in front of a wooden bureau, pull a lever, and look behind a panel where six drums, bristling with metal spokes, revolved. At the end of its “grinding,” what it produced was not a numeric computation or a row of fruit symbols, but something quite different: a polished line of Latin poetry.

This strange gadget, a Victorian ancestor of the computer, was called the Eureka. The Eureka was the brainchild, and obsession, of a man in southwest England named John Clark....

-- Atlas Obscura 9/23/16

(Try out the Eureka engine as a Floetry baseflow.)

Tristan Tzara (one of the "presidents of Dada") described this method in "Dada Manifesto on Feeble Love and Bitter Love," 12/12/20


    To make a dadaist poem 
    Take a newspaper. 
    Take a pair of scissors. 
    Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem. 
    Cut out the article. 
    Then cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag. 
    Shake it gently. 
    The take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag. 
    Copy conscientiously. 
    The poem will be like you. 
    And here you are a writer, infinitely original and endowed 
       with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.

This website cleverly applies Tzara's rules to Tzara's own definition. (Excercise: make this into a baseflow!)

			
    At a surrealist rally in the 1920s Tristan Tzara the man from nowhere 
    proposed to create a poem on the spot by pulling words out of a hat. 
    A riot ensued wrecked the theater. André Breton expelled Tristan Tzara 
    from the movement and grounded the cut-ups on the Freudian couch.
    “When you cut into the present,” he said, “the future leaks out.” 

-- nineteen-sixty.blogspot.com

T.S. Eliot

According to William S. Burroughs, T.S. Eliot used something like the cut-up method in his composition of The Waste Land, which was composed at about the same time as Tzara's manifesto.

Brion Gysin

Brion Gysin is the man who gave Alice B. Toklas her famous recipe for "haschich fudge". He is a relatively unkwown artistic genius who is best known for rediscovering Tzara's cut-up method and teaching it to William S. Burroughs.

This website is a tribute to Gysin, and worth a visit!

William S. Burroughs

The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gyson is an article written about Gysin by his student, well known beat(?) author William S. Burroughs:

	"The cut-up method brings to writers the collage, 
	which has been used by painters for fifty years." 

-- William S. Burroughs, 1960

Jackson Mac Low 1922-2004: wrote a long piece you can read here.

The Pentametron is an automated system discovers timely rhymed couplets of iambic pentameter in the vast language soup that is Twitter - and retweets them.

Floetry in Music and Lyrics

John Cage


	Making language as interesting as music, Cage was to learn, 
	depended on the dismantling of "normal" syntax

From The Music of Verbal Space: John Cage's "What You Say"

David Bowie

This article in The Guardian looks at the meeting of David Bowie and William S. Burroughs.

Lyricists who have used this method also include:

Floetry in Mathematics

Markov was one of the first to explore the structure of randomness, through forms now known as Markov Chains. Interestingly he applied his work to some of the greatest Russian literature, the novel Onegin by Alexander Pushkin.


	By 1913, however, Markov had apparently had a change of heart. 
	His paper on Onegin was certainly a work of applied probability theory. 
	It made a lasting impression, perhaps in part because of the novelty of 
	applying mathematics to poetry. Perhaps too because the poem he chose 
	is a treasured one, which Russian schoolchildren recite.

-- First Links in the Markov Chain, Brian Hayes

Floetry in Physics

A baseflow is a quantum state that a composer creates. When you view a baseflow, you collapse the state, selecting an actual floem from many potential floems using randomness. This is also known as the Monte Carlo method).

In the seventies, with the advent of sufficient computing power, chaos theorists and fractal mathematicians discovered that applying random numbers to simple mathematical expressions could generate beautiful natural-looking patterns that exhibit self-similarity across different scales. [Reference.] An entire industry was born for using fractal techniques to generate graphics that artificially but realistically depict mountains, clouds, coastlines, trees, and a host of other natural phenomenta.

Floetry in Art and Philosophy

Is Art Created by AI Really Art?

-- Scientific American February 2018

Digital Poetry Overview

	It seems to be very significant that it is possible to change 
	the underlying word quantity into a “word field” using an assigned probability matrix, 
	and to require the machine to print only those sentences where a probability exists 
	between the subject and the predicate which exceeds a certain value. 
	In this way it is possible to produce a text which is “meaningful” 
	in relation to the underlying matrix.

Source: Theo Lutz, Stochastic Text, 1959

An article titled Manufacturing content is part of a larger presentation called "Poetry through the ages" on webexhibits.org. The article contains this unusual piece of generated poetry using the style and vocabulary of a computer program:


	on write
		repeat twice
			do "global " & characteristics
		end repeat
		repeat with programmers = one to always
			if touching then
				put essential into invariance
			else
				put the round of simplicity * engineering / synchronicity + one into invariance
			end if
			if invariance > the random of engineering and not categorical then
				put ideals + one into media
			if subversive then
				put false into subversive
				end if
				if media > instantiation then
					put one into media
				end if
			else
				put the inscription of conjunctions + one into media
			end if
            

Resources

Articles and Websites

Websites In the Spirit of Floetry (One-Off Baseflows)