Craft Seminar: Meaningful Machines – An Introduction to Digital Poetry with Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Saturday, September 26, 2020 - 12:00pm to Sunday, September 27, 2020 - 2:00pm

Registration is available through our partner The Shipman Agency. Please note that all class times are in Eastern Standard Time, not Arizona Time. 


2 Sessions: Saturday + Sunday, September 26 + 27
Noon-2:00PM EST
Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Williams Carlos Williams is famous for saying that “a poem is a small (or large) machine made of words”. Digital poetry—specifically computational poetry—takes this quite literally. Poems can be computational machines, and machines can be poems. If you’ve ever had even the slightest curiosity about digital poetry or questions about how computer programs can “write” poetry (or prose!) then this short 2-session seminar is for you.  

In this basic introductory level class, you will learn the basics for understanding (1) how a poetry generator can work (2) experiment with preexisting poetry generator programs and (3) make your own poetry generator.  

 Maybe you’re thinking “this sounds cool, but intimidating…. I don’t know anything about computer programming or software…” That’s perfect! You don’t need to have any prior experience with computation or programming. All you need is a willingness to learn, an internet connection, and a web browser. 

You’ll learn not just how to program a generator to produce a poem, but how these “meaningful machines” can be useful for invigorating a writing practice or engaging in radical revision!

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, PhD, is the author of Travesty Generator, a book of computational poetry that won the Poetry Society of America’s 2020 Anna Rabinowitz Prize for interdisciplinary and venturesome work. They direct the MFA program at UMass Boston.