Margaret Rhee

Automated Poetics

Reclaiming names: Asian American queer feminist poetry and politics

Poems from a Kundiman workshop

I want to start first with light. It’s through the flickering Zoom screen I first met a group of queer feminist Asian American writers creating space together. It is March 2021. An interface cannot hold back presence. 

I want to remember light. We would read Audre Lorde. We would read Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. We would read Adrienne Rich. We would read Gloria Anzaldúa. We would discuss, write, share, create, smiles that permeate through the screen, worldbuilding. 

Gloria once wrote, “The world knows us by our faces, the most naked, the most vulnerable, exposed, and significant topography of the body.”

'or we could simply talk about poetry!'

The pioneering digital poetics of Loss Pequeño Glazier

For poet, digital artist, and scholar of e-literature Loss Pequeño Glazier, the intersection of the two  algorithms and poetry  has always intersected. He has done this pioneering work in the inception of the field as a graduate student and professor at SUNY Buffalo, and his book Digital Poetics: the Making of E-Poetries is one of the foundations in the field as the first book-length study of digital poetry published in 2002. 

Thus the poet knows which lines the poem could contain but never which lines the poem will contain, these decisions made by the algorithms desultory logic. The output is clearly seeded by the poet, each permutation the product of human deliberation, linguistic invention, craft, play, and articulation of the poets vision  but the generation of a stanza occurs only at the precise moment of reading. A study in poiesis! — Luna Lunera, Loss Glazier  

Baking with Emily Dickinson

An interview with Houghton librarians Christine Jacobson and Emily Walhout on your virtual birthday party

Some of the readers included the poet and performer Tracie Morris, the television showrunner and creator of Apple TV’s Dickinson, Alena Smith, NPR’s Nikki Silva, cocreator of “The Kitchen Sisters,” Rachel Syme of the New Yorkerpoet and Shayla Lawson, the young poet and model Amanda Gorman, and more exciting artists and writers. We were able to watch a preview of Dickinson with Alena’s reading.


Libarians Christine Jacobson and Emily Walhout introduction (courtesy of the Houghton Library).

Radical reclamations

Queer feminist collaborative acts by Sophie Seita and Naomi Woo

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “reclamation” in the past few days.  

“Reclamation” is a word that emerges when there are moments of aesthetic and space making that reflects the “transformation of light into action,” as poet Audre Lorde writes. The feminist and queer acts of collaboration and resistance by Naomi Woo and Sophie Seita shed light on the word “reclaim.” In their brilliant collaborations — across poetry, music, theory, visual art, and performance — they reclaim female artists and other figures into lecture-formances and a feminist epistolary of wit, resistance, and care. Seita and Woo reclaim what’s been lost for queer and feminist artists, and resubvert what’s never been given, and in doing so, they give to us.

Photos courtesy of Sophie Seita.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “reclamation” in the past few days.  

Ephemeral radical acts

Bridging the digital and textual in the poetics of Nick Montfort

The rules of language — coding and poetics — occupy our current moment of automated poetics, and Nick Montfort, as a poet and a scholar, a theorist of the future, and an artist, creates the future through his computer-generated poetics, bending the rules of these languages. With multiple dimensions to his wide-ranging and innovative poetic practice, he is the author of over fifteen books of poetry and theory on digital media such as The New Media Reader (2003), Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (2003), Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System (2009), 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 (2010), Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities (2016), and The Future (2017), all from MIT Press.