Digital Poetics LTWR 103

This Syllabus is Provisional

Elizabeth Losh

Course Description:

This workshop/lab for creative writers includes instruction on using software and writing basic computer code.   Student writers will create innovative web-based works that experiment with poetic form, draw on rich media resources, and provide more accessibility and interactivity for public audiences.  Participants will also be encouraged to interrogate the definition of poetry itself, as they work with different fonts, screen layouts, sounds, and rules and consider the analogies between writing poems and writing computer code. Further information about this course is available at the syllabus at

We will be working with the Archive for New Poetry to see examples of experimental work in the twentieth century that uses poetic effects from the concrete form of the text on the page, sound, nonlinear composition, and chance.


Office Location: Pepper Canyon Hall 249

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursdays 12:30-1:30PM


Grade Breakdown:

Flash Adaptation Assignment: 10%

Original Flash Assignment: 15%

Audacity Adaptation Assignment: 5%

Original Audacity Assignment: 10%

Hypertext Adaptation Assignment: 10%

Original Hypertext: 15%

Processing Adaptation Assignment: 5%

Final Project: 20%

Class Participation: 10%


Recommended Non-Poetry Books:

Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Suite, Xtine Burrough and Michael Mandiberg

Getting Started with Processing, Casey Reas and Ben Fry


Week Zero

9/22 Thursday

Meet in Lit 455

Introductions - Bring a poem that you have written or one you admire to read out loud.

Talking about Technical Matters: Conceptual, Rhetorical, Stylistic, and Technical Issues

Showcase from last year's students


Week One

9/27 Tuesday

Meet in Lit 455

Electronic Literature Organization

Electronic Literature Collection

Volume 1

Volume 2

E-Poetry at The Electronic Poetry Center

Net Art


Joe Davis, I Made Tea

Animated Poetry

Robert Kendall, Faith

Brian Kim Stefans, The Dreamlife of Letters

9/29 Thursday

Meet in Geisel Library Special Collections

Session in Special Collections

Also check out the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry

And Early and Clairvoyant Journals by Hannah Weiner

Reviewing Experimental Movements of the 20th Century: Symbolism, Imagism, Surrealism, Objectivism, The New York School, Black Mountain School, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry


Week Two

10/4 Tuesday

Meet in Center 315

Working with Flash and adapting James Schuyler's "Father or Son"

(Sample Flash adaptation from Rose Mireya from last year)

Kinetic Typography (bring USB drive for .fla files)

K. Michel and Dirk Vis, Ah

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Cunnilingus in North Korea

Adaptation and Motion Graphics

Pulp Fiction in Motion Graphics

Jeff Smith-Luedke, Minimalism

Ellen Lupton, Thinking with Type

Lev Manovich, "Generation Flash"

10/6 Thursday

Meet in Pepper Canyon Hall Smart Classroom on the Second Floor, PCYN 240

Reading and Responding to Electronic Literature with Jeremy Douglass of CRCA

Word at a Time Works

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Dakota

William Poundstone, Project for Tachistoscope

Interactive Works

Sam Barlow, Aisle

Daniel C. Howe and Aya Karpinska, open - ended

Dan Waber and Jason Pimble, I, You, We


Week Three

10/11 Tuesday

Meet in Lit 455

Archivally Inspired Illuminated Manuscript Created with Photoshop Due! [dropbox]

Using Photoshop or a similar form of image editing software, create an electronically generated "illuminated manuscript" inspired by a work of concrete poetry from the Archive for New Poetry at UCSD. Please turn in a one-page print-out, either in black-and-white or in color. Please also include your name and the author and title of the work that inspired your homage.

10/13 Thursday

Bring Your Laptops to Class!

Meet in Lit 455

Today the focus will be on electronic literature off the screen and into social media with Mark Marino of Bunk Magazine, Critical Code Studies, and the University of Southern California will be leading our class.

Mark Marino, Stravinsky's Muse

Mark Marino, The LA Flood Project

Allison Clifford, The Sweet Old Et Cetera

Jeremy Douglass, He began: She ended

Remember the And Now Conference is taking place, so check out the e-lit sessions today!


Week Four

10/18 Tuesday

Meet in Center 315

Working with Audacity and adapting Hannah Weiner's Clairvoyant Journal

(Sample Audacity adaptation by John Schell from last year)

Tips on working with audio from the Library:

You can limit the scope to "audio" on the Roger basic search page before entering your search terms. You will notice on the Roger search page a number of options just above the search box: All Audio Books Digital Images Electronic Materials Films & Videos Journals & Serials Maps & Atlases – The default is "All," when you select "Audio" the bar across the top turns purple. You may then enter your search terms and results will come from across libraries, including digital audio collections, and will exclude printed works, films, etc.

To find audio recordings from the Archive for New Poetry specifically limit the scope to audio, as above, and enter Archive for New Poetry as your search terms. Everything in ANP is given this additional heading, so it is a good way to bring together all ANP titles. You will see this is 1477 results. So, you will no doubt want to perform a more precise search for particular poets, date ranges, etc.

Even more specifically, everything in the New Writing Series is pulled together with an added title New Writing Series (as it was called from the years 1982-on) or UCSD New Poetry Series (1973-1981, as it was called during that time). You will notice that the most recent years have been digitized and the links to the audio is available from Roger as you search that way. We also post the current quarter readings on our website:

10/20 Thursday

Meet in Lit 455

Flash Adaptation Assignment Due [dropbox]

Introducing Sound

John Cayley, Windsound

Thomas Swiss, Blind Side of a Secret

Jennifer Hill-Kaucher, Dan Waber, and Reiner Strasser, >>Oh<<

Sound and Performance: From the Beats to Spoken Word

Naropa Poetics Audio Archive

John Kusch, Red Lily

Discuss Flash Adaptation assignments


Week Five

10/25 Tuesday

Meet in Lit 455

Original Flash Composition Due [dropbox]

Thinking about Databases and Information Visualizations

Public Secrets and Blood Sugar by Sharon Daniel

Word Tree by Alberto Gonzales

Discuss Original Flash Compositions

10/27 Thursday

Meet in Lit 455

Remix Culture

Finish Discussing Original Flash Compositions



Week Six

11/1 Tuesday

Meet in Center 315

Introduction to HTML, CSS, and Javascript with Dreamweaver and adapting George Oppen's "Route"

11/3 Thusday

Meet in Lit 455

Non-Linear Poetry

"Procedural Literacy: Educating the New Media Practitioner," Michael Mateas

Thinking spatially: Sarah Waterson, Elena Knox, and Cristyn Davis, Trope and Chico Marinho, Palavrador

Audacity Adaptation Assignment Due [dropbox]

Discuss Audacity Adaptation assignments


Week Seven

11/8 Tuesday

Meet in Lit 455

Hypertext Poetry

Judd Morrisey, The Jew's Daughter

Scott Rettberg, The Unknown

Special Guest: Jessica Pressman of Yale University

11/10 Thursday

Meet in Lit 455

Original Audacity Composition Due [dropbox]

Discuss Audacity Original Compositions


Week Eight

11/15 Tuesday

Meet in Lit 455

11/17 Thursday

Meet in Lit 455


Week Nine

11/22 Tuesday

Meet in Center 315

Introduction to Processing and adapting Harryette Mullen's "Bad germs" from S*PeR**K*T

11/24 Thursday

Thanksgiving Holiday



Week Ten

11/29 Tuesday

Critical Code Studies


Non-Linear Adaptation Assignment Due: George Oppen's "Route" [dropbox]

Discuss Oppen Hypertexts

12/1 Thursday

Original Hypertext Composition Due [dropbox]

Sample Original Hypertext from Last Year

Discuss Original Hypertexts


12/7 Wednesday 6:30 to 8:30

Project Showcase

Meet in Pepper Canyon Hall Smart Classroom Second Floor, PCYN 240

Processing Adaptation Assignment Due [dropbox]

Final Project Due [dropbox]