writing to know, knowing thru being, being for writing... this is me, writing about the one thing i know, which is myself... and even that is sometimes a mystery...

Monday, August 08, 2005

math poetry / computer poetics

i had an idea for a new form of experimental poetry the other day while at work. tell me what you think:
math poetry, a poetic form composed of numbers and symbols. but unlike binary or L33T, in which the numbers actually form words or language, in math poetry, everything would be math-related, a non-language-referential.
the grammars would be numerical, not lettered. not sentences, but equations. not phrases, but number combinations.
it would be absurd, abstract, just like language. it would be, simply, number groups that make some sort of intuited sense.
6 7 13
6, 7 are consecutive
13 is prime, unlucky
or 4 5 9
this form would also be incredibly conducive to variable symbolic meanings (ex: 7 being symbolically hefty, as it is usually associated with wholeness/completeness/perfection), and a math poet's freedom to switch between various pools of meaning and purpose and intent would be almost limitless.
like letters, numbers generate meaning based on their pairing and grouping with other numbers. but because the majority of people don't communicate language through numbers, there would be less structure and constriction of meaning to each number. that is, more ambiguity, more meaning, more objectivity, more range for intepretation and creation.
language is socially influenced. math, being a science, has retained the most of its objectivity.
but why, you might ask, would anyone want to write something that wouldn't speak to any reader, that would be so general that any emotional/sentimental value would be robbed from it? i mean, isn't the beauty of language and poetry to communicate some feeling to another person?
yes, i would agree. but, i like the idea of math poetry, because it's distilling the process of language into something unclouded by sentimental attachment. it's a sterilized version of communication, which kind of defeats the purpose, i suppose, but that's the fun in experimentation. it's theory in practice.
because in math poetry, the sense would not be in the sound, or the feeling of it on your tongue or in your heart, but the way it plays in your brain. the sense would be in the patterns and realities the numbers generate from their progression. the sense would be in the sense. it would be computer poetics, where the reader's mind becomes what it essentially is, a computer.
it would be taking symbols and converting them into pictures, memories, ideas. creating phrases, sentences, narratives, poems and feelings, out of basic, sterile symbols. and isn't that what language is? is this process not the same as any other act of reading?
my point being, this human mind we possess is so incredible. how amazing this code we call language is, that we can form whole lines of thought to communicate with another individual, using only a basic 26 symbol system.


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