Eileen R. Tabios is a poet working in multiple genres and in-between. She also loves books by writing, reading, publishing, critiquing, romancing and advocating for them. This blog will feature her bibliophilic activities with posts on current book engagements and links to her books and projects related to books.

Friday, August 22, 2014


There was an article recently about various “types” of poets.  I was happy to see that, initially, I couldn’t see myself in any of the stereotyped profiles (though I’ve always looked quite fetching in a beret).  Still, I’m about to take on Poet No. __ by announcing, I JUST WROTE A POEM!  In the article, what is implicit about poets announcing such is apparently the pushed implication: SO NOW, WORLD: AWAIT GREATNESS!

All very Friday cheerful.  So, I just wrote a new poem, and I’m announcing it because of the way the poem happened.  I was reading through Nick Montfort’s latest book, #! (yes, that’s the title, #!, pronounced fabulously as "shebang"!) just released by Counterpath Press.  Ever brilliant, Montfort (who I first came across whilst curating BIBLIOTHECA INVISIBILIS) uses creative computing — in the case of #!, conquers the programming language, “Python” — to make new poems.

The book has a wonderful presentation.  On black pages, it reprints the programs Montfort set forth for generating the poem.  Then the generated poem is presented next as the (usual) black text on white pages.  Here’s a photo of the program for the poem that helped inspire my own newest poem:

NOW, WORLD: AWAIT GREATNESS!  Here’s the photo of my notes, ahem, my program generated by Montfort’s program from which I then wrote a new poem.

It gets better.  While writing/typing my own poem, to be guided by my notes, I mean, program, I had to tape it against the lamp pole by my desk.

I love the contrast.  There’s Montfort and his ilk expanding the technological frontiers of poetry and then there’s me happily keeping company with scratch paper, handwriting and tape!  Oh, and lamp pole!

I love the 21st century!  I still have to figure out Skype but … with poetry, I’m ever happy to be able to fashion a home.  Thank you, Poetry!

And thank you, Nick Montfort.  Are those shutters behind you in this photo from BIBLIOTHECA INVISIBILIS?  Because they sure look programmed, too!

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