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
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....
(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.”
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 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
Making language as interesting as music, Cage was to learn, depended on the dismantling of "normal" syntax
This article in The Guardian looks at the meeting of David Bowie and William S. Burroughs.
Lyricists who have used this method also include:
- Kurt Cobain
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.
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?
- What do you mean by "really"?
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
Articles and Websites
- Cut-up technique - from wikipedia
- Poetic technique of chance operations
- Experimental Poetry in American Literature in the World
- Stochastic Acts: the Search String as Poetry
- Gnoetry Daily
- Hello Poetry - a community of poets and their followers
- Why I Switch Languages
- Poet's Know It - a place for poets. Requires creating an account
- The Machine that Writes Haiku
- Steiner, “Automate This"
- David Cope 2000 Haiku by Men and Machine - Classical music composed by computer
- Poetry with Mathematics
Websites In the Spirit of Floetry (One-Off Baseflows)
- Poem Generator - Floetry baseflow: Sea Shanties
- The Eureka machine, 1845 - Floetry baseflow: Eureka
- Astral Chakra Matrix - Floetry baseflow: Astral Chakra Matrix
- Tzara combinations
- New Age Bullshit Generator
- The Enigmatic Wisdom of Deepak Chopra
- Vegas Name Generator
- Mob Nickname Generator
- Airbnb Review Generator
- Random Identity Generator
- Verified Facts - not facts at all
- Icowid - Pychoactive cryptocurrencies
- Karl Jobs - Karl Marx meets Steve Jobs
- Poemexe.com - Haiku generator