Roopika Risam

Postcolonial digital poetics

Poetry for robots

Poetry for Robots landing page
Poetry for Robots landing page

Poetry for Robots, a newly released site from Neologic Labs, Webvisions, and the Arizona State University Center for Science and the Imagination, asks “What if we used poetry and metaphor as metadata? Would a search for ‘eyes’ return images of stars?”

Black words matter

Black Lives Matter Protest

Towards the end of 2014, Writers in Baltimore Schools, a non-profit organization, held a write-in to give students a chance to explore and process their responses to the death of Mike Brown and the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. The event yielded the Black Words Matter blog, where some of the poems from the event are archived. The students' work explores a range of themes from slavery to police brutality to the history of Jim Crow.

A digital Library of Babel

A wall of a hexagonal chamber in the digital Library of Babel
A wall of a hexagonal chamber in the digital Library of Babel

In his 1941 short story "The Library of Babel," Jorges Luis Borges depicts a series of hexagonal rooms, their walls lined with bookshelves. These shelves contain books comprised of every possible combination of letters, spaces, commas, and periods. Some books are filled with nonsense but within the collection lies every literary text ever written, along with multiple permutations of each of these texts. The library's collection comprises all knowledge that is known or will be known.

Water, poetry, and the Transborder Immigrant Tool

Transborder Immigrant Tool on a Nokia Phone
Transborder Immigrant Tool on a Nokia Phone

Today, creators of the Transborder Immigrant Tool announced the release of their book containing the code and poems that power this inventive and potentially life-sustaining tool. Developed by the Electronic Disturbance Theatre while in residence at B.A.N.G. lab at University of California, San Diego, the Transborder Immigrant Tool is a mobile app developed for use on inexpensive phones that offer immigrants crossing the U.S./Mexico border on foot navigation to water stations in the desert using visual and sound cues. Once a traveler activates the app, the phone locates the nearest water cache using GPS and begins guiding the user towards the water using a compass and poems.

Your tweets, now with more poetry

Poetweet transforms users' tweets into sonnets, rondels, or indrisos
Poetweet transforms users' tweets into sonnets, rondels, or indrisos

Ever wonder what tweets would look like remixed into poetic form? This question, which few people were probably asking, is the premise behind the application Poetweet. Simply type in a Twitter handle, choose between sonnet, rondel, or indriso, and the application generates a poem.

"Divya Victor" is one such poem generated through Poetweet, using the Jacket2 Twitter account: