Week 8

From Expressive Computing


Reading discussion

Some points on Oulipo:

  • Literature as constraints and procedures
  • "The really inspired person is never inspired, but always inspired." What does this mean? How was the Oulipo positioning itself with regard to Romantic ideals of literature?
  • Literature is subject to "exploration" by procedural means
  • If language is a concrete object, how do we manipulate it?
  • Forms as potential

Some poetic forms

"A poem is a small (or large) machine made of words." -- William Carlos Williams

A poetic form is halfway between a set of constraints and a set of instructions. Some of these constraints/instructions are formal (e.g., rhymes, number of syllables) and some are semantic (e.g., what the poem has to be "about").

... and so forth.

Compare and contrast form with techniques such as N+7, cut-ups.

Our question: How do computers see text? What are the easiest ways to manipulate it programmatically?

Relevant work


Analysis and Visualization

Code examples

Week 8 sample code


Preparing text files

Cut-and-paste from wherever, and save to disk as ASCII text. Word wrap if you have to. (more details in class)

Reading for next week

  • Vannevar Bush, As We May Think, pp. 37-47 in NMR.