Assemblage card for WORLD OF WORK

Thought I’d post up the 6” x 4” assemblage card I submitted for the performance piece WORLD OF WORK, which was performed by Chris Goode and Jonny Liron at the First Annual Sussex Poetry Festival, 16th April 2010.

I wasn’t in the country for the performance, but am interested to hear or see how it was performed, and the other work that was contributed. Hopefully there will be some documentation of the event available at some point…

Click the image to enlarge.

Deena Larson’s Repository of E-Lit

Well guys, it’s certainly been a while. In really the most hectic period of my life, I am only now getting back into research and writing. It’s a slow and scary process.

My aims for the coming months are to separate Itchaway from my bread & butter work, keeping this site dedicated to my research into poetry (e- and not-e-) and to web interests such as tutorials, but not for a marketing space. I’ve been struggling with the multiple identities for a while, and I want to keep the selling separate from the experimenting. I want this site to expand as a research companion, a tool for others, and a showcase for works-in-progress. Like it was intended originally.

With that, I thought I’d post up a quick link to Deena Larson’s ‘virtual bookshelf’. Well, look, it contains one of my pieces of work from a few years back, what a coincidence. Actually, it is, really, a coincidence, as I was looking for work by Larson herself, but Larson’s breakdown is useful in that it separates out works based on the level of prolonged engagement / time required to, I guess, master or complete the work. This is clearly a non-judgemental comparmentalisation. It does not claim superiority for work catering to any attention span over another. However, it does offer a substantial selection of works including some farily recent, from across the web.

Deena Larson’s virtual bookshelf can be found here.

How2 Vol 3 No 3 is Live

At the end of last week, I finally pushed the button and put How2 LIVE!!!

As usual, it’s a very large issue, with several substantial features, as outlined in the full flyer below.

There are a couple of other noteworthy extras with this issue:

Blog: With the launch of this issue comes the launch of the new How2 Blog. This contains 4 sections: Blog, Calls, Postcard, Updates. Postcards are, as usual, open to the readers of How2, who are encouraged to participate in dialogue and disucssion of work and issues pertaining to the content of the journal, between issues on an ongoing basis. The blog will be updated by various selected writers associated with the journal. Calls and updates will be updated with news and calls as and when they arise. You are encouraged to subscribe to the blog and follow the discussions!

Twitter: How2 is now on Twitter, @how2journal. This is a great way to receive alerts to updates, and get quick, to the point information from the journal. Please follow, and every Friday, big up the journal, #ff lovers.

And, to quickly self-promote, I have a short essay in this issue by way of introduction to the works found in the new media section, which I curated for the issue.

The header image is taken from a screenshot of Aya Karpińska’s nobody knows but you, featured in and downloadable from this issue.

Visit How2.

HOW2 logo

Volume 3 number 3

Volume 3, Issue 3

Launching a new issue of How2 journal…


Strictly Speaking on Caroline Bergvall
Featuring papers from:

Caroline Bergvall
Sophie Robinson
Nathan Brown
cris cheek
Laura Goldstein
Majene Mafe

Reading Carla Harryman
Featuring papers from:

Carla Harryman
Laura Hinton
Christine Hume
J. Darling
Carla Billitteri
Renee Gladman
Austin Publicover

Poetic Economies of Performance: Part 2
Featuring poems & papers from:

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
Emily Carr
Christina Continelli
David Emanuel
Jennifer Karmin
Shannon Maguire
Julia Lee Barclay
Amy Sara Carroll
Laylage Courie
Bonnie Emerick
Jena Osman

new media

Aya Karpińska
Katie Clapham
Becky Cremin
Simone Gilson

New Writing
Featuring poems by:

Jessica Wilkinson
Emily Critchley
Karen Sandhu


Jessica Wilkinson on Susan Howe’s Souls of the Labadie Tract
Emily Critchley: on Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip

In Conference

Arpine Konyalian Grenier:
Reflections on the First International Poetic Ecologies Conference, Université Libre de Bruxelles, May 2008

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE HOW(ever) ARCHIVES Featuring selected work by:

Susan Gevirtz
Hannah Weiner
Rosmarie Waldrop
Lydia Davis

Contribute a Postcard, view Calls for Submissions, view Updates and the read the new blog at the new How2 Blog.

How2 is now on Twitter. Follow us: @how2journal.

Search How2
Visit our Links section
Visit our Archives

Editor: Redell Olsen (London)
Managing Editor: Kai Fierle Hedrick (New York)
Designer / Programmer: John Sparrow (London)
Publisher: Kathleen Fraser

Regular Expressions

Regular expressions are used to detect and / or replace text from a given text input. RegExr is an online testing environment for formulating regular expressions — vital in checking that expressions are working as expected. There is also an Air-based desktop app available for free download.

As well as having vast useful applications for general development, the arbitrary nature of regular expressions also has significant implications for code-based language play. Loss Glazier has explored the radical potentials of the grep in Digital Poetics; the concept with regular expressions is precisely the same.

For some of Glazier’s practical applications of grep procedures, check out this selection and also the online appendices to the Digital Poetics book. See also Glazier’s paper from WITZ (Spring, 1999).

Experimental Gameplay Project

The Experimental Gameplay Project is a fascinating forum for developers to create varied and engaging games within thematic and time constraints.  The site explains:

We’re a group of indie game developers, running a friendly competition every month. The rules: Make a game based on the month's theme, and don't spend more than 7 days. New games posted at the end of every month.

via Experimental Gameplay Project.

They go on to explain in their About page:

The Experimental Gameplay Project began as a student pitched project at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. The project started in Spring 2005 with the goal of discovering and rapidly prototyping as many new forms of gameplay as possible. A team of four grad students, we locked ourselves in a room for a semester with three rules:

1. Each game must be made in less than seven days,
2. Each game must be made by exactly one person,
3. Each game must be based around a common theme i.e. “gravity”, “vegetation”, “swarms”, etc.

As the project progressed, we were amazed and thrilled with the onslaught of web traffic, with the attention from gaming magazines, and with industry professionals and academics all asking the same questions, “How are you making these games so quickly?” and “How can we do it too?” Though we successfully met our goal of making over 50 games, we realized that this project had become much less about the games, and much more about the crazy development process – and how we could help others do the same thing.

This lengthy quote is worth the plagiarism, as it gets to the heart of one of the radical potentials of digital writing, whether or not that writing is a means to a ‘literature’ end. There is a recognition here that the compositional method, the writing technique and the process of writing, is arguably as important as the ‘end product’.  Or, perhaps, these two distinctions are not as comfortably distinct as they once were.

It is hardly a new thought to suggest that the computation of a piece of art is integral to the art itself, but there is something in the improvisational method involved with coding in such desperately short spaces of time that foregrounds the modularity of such forms of writing. That is, to start with smaller elements or conventions, initial ideas, and to have these build on each other, loop on each other, until the diminished returns discussed in the guide come into play (that is, there reaches a point where the efficiency of writing ceases and debugging becomes decreasingly useful measured across time). Starting points and unpolished works suggest that more can be done, or that these games are themselves platforms for new developments. Certainly there seems to be a tendency for improvisation within the loose conventions of one’s coding comfort zone that produces unexpected turns and eventually a game that the programmer had not envisaged at the start of the process.

I am thinking in particular of the interactive poem ERGON/LOGOS by Paolo Pedercini:

It’s basically a fast paced interactive storytelling piece that tries to be a meta-platform game based on the stream of consciousness of an egodystonic homosexual hero, but it fails miserably and becomes a piece of non-linear kinetic visual poetry written by a teenager obsessed with post-structuralist French philosophy.

I don’t know exactly what I was thinking.

This work, a stark black and white bold meandering selection of textual pathways, is reminiscent stylistically of the work of Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries works, which combine similarly basic styling with large impact, animated in stop motion to jazzy music. ERGON/LOGOS, however, utilizes the space of the screen in ways that I have not seen often in electronic literature, in that it spills outside of the screen, using space and scale as narrative progression device. The unstoppable movement of the text introduces previously invisible areas of the textual layout, always implying a wider surface which cannot (yet) be seen. Simple mouseover gestures confirm the choices of which fork in the path to follow, and therefore how to develop the unfolding text.

Vector graphics applications and file formats (HTML would count here too) such as Flash and the PDF format have the ability, within limits, to be scalable in ways that have direct bearing on how the text could and can possibly be received and / or interpreted. I guess it’s surprising to me that the ludic elements of playing ‘against time’ (having to make decisions before one is made for you) in relation to screenic space are not experimented with more often.

Going back to the modular idea, which is something I’m appreciating more and more at the moment, a not-immediately-apparent extra on the ERGON/LOGOS page (scroll down to the bottom of the screen) is that the fla file (the working Flash file, not the published swf) is available for download, so remixes, new iterations, are possible.

Silliman Remixes, 2

Organize, see?
bird lets you prison view
anorexic spare point

in fact,
prison happens.

To garden with black face.

The it who will read –
empire women to
Joyous event shelves
skin tone

Language is entitled
to price.
I was realism immediately

an appendix as
don’t… don’t not
a place to Florida
in villainous orbit


From a coded remix of Silliman’s blog, 3rd November 2009.

I have this ontological problem:
be young
a Pedro thug
one which shouts in no
way twice. what cut earlier wonders attempt. but One short
Robert Ronnow Lubbock
perhaps by color
neighbor & protégé
or won’t be
Los Angeles
where is the world I know?

by inference at least
it ran to 90 minutes
even instruction
is entirely hateful as was consequence
terrain in analogy
problem birds red

that of the poem.
turn in Not toward

Tan Lin at PennSound

There are several Tan Lin videos now being hosted on PennSound.

Pretty fascinating kinetic texts here.  I was particularly interested in Disco Eats Itself, which combines typed-out text animated and obscured / obstructed through Flash with a corresponding visual track of YouTube videos tagged with “Disco”.  I could not tell for sure, but I think these videos are recorded and presented through a SWF file, since they seem to output the same every time. This made me wonder what would happen using an API or suchlike, through which you could maybe loop YouTube videos with certain tags in relation to a realtime reflection of the current status / content of videos with such tags, and producing a piece which is always transforming in accordance with the YouTube content. I’m sure there’s a project in this (and I guess I should try this out soon) but the Tan Lin work offers a pretty fascinating snapshot of a database’s moment in time directly relating to an unfolding text through meta association.

Link to Tan Lin works on PennSound >>

WordPress, Godaddy, Windows Hosting and Contact Forms

I have recently been working with a client on Godaddy’s Windows hosting, who wanted a WordPress blog transferred over to this hosting.  These days, with IIS 7.0 and PHP 5, hosting a WordPress blog on Windows is not a huge problem.  Using a standard PHP-based contact form plugin, however, is not so straghtforward.

What’s the problem?

WordPress and (as far as I can tell) all contact form plugins seem to use PHP’s mail() function to send mail through the web.  By and large, this is a convenient and configurable solution. However, it seems that on Windows hosting, this function will not work.  The only alternative is to use SMTP to send emails.

Thankfully there are two useful plugins and a decent tutorial out there, if you are using Contact Form 7. This tutorial is also useful for those using other contact form plugins who may be running into the same problem.


Cimy Swift SMTP

Contact Form 7

Tutorial by Mario Vargas

However, following these tutorials led to a further frustration. Though the test emails from each SMTP plugin’s setup pages sent perfectly, the forms still failed to work. It couldn’t be a hosting setup issue, but had to be a plugin issue.

The person who had worked on the blog originally had installed the wp-contact-form plugin. Having updated this, I was receiving errors relating to sending issues every time I tested the form live. Then I had a thought: the plugins that fix the mail() issue and convert to SMTP do so by telling WordPress how to send the emails.  Since WordPress has its own email sending function, it then made sense that forcing the mailing plugins to use this function might make things work again. Furthermore, delving into the SMTP plugins and looking at how they sent their test emails (which by this time I knew were working correctly) showed that they were using WordPress’s send function. This makes sense; the test send has to use the same method or it’s not much of a test!

And that’s where I finally had success. I was working with the wp-contact-form, and I opened up the plugin file (wp-contactform.php) in an editor (you can go to Plugins, find the plugin and click “Edit” too, if you do not have FTP access) and found the line of code that actually sends the email.  On, this is line 143. The code should read as follows:

mail($recipient, $subject, $fullmsg, $headers);

Ready for some extensive editing? Here goes. Modify this line to use the WordPress mail function instead:

wp_mail($recipient, $subject, $fullmsg, $headers);

That’s it! Hopefully everything should finally be working as expected.

I have not tested this out with Contact Form 7 yet, but if, after using Mario’s tutorials above, you still have no luck, try modifying the plugin in the same way…

Blackbox Manifold, Issue 3 (July 2009)

There is a new(ish) issue of Blackbox Manifold out, which managed to pass me by completely at the time. Perhaps I was too busy living my new married life.

This issue contains poems by all of these people, with a review essay by Adam Piette on Geoffrey Hill:

Dorothy Alexander

Simon Armitage

Jim Benz

Caroline Bergvall

Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Iain Britton

Glenn R. Frantz

Giles Goodland

Robert Hampson

Kate Lilley

James McLaughlin

Bill Manhire

D.S. Marriott

Peter Middleton

Helen Mort

Burgess Needle

Ian Patterson

Robert Rehder

Steven Waling

John Welch

John Whale