Members of the class “When Worlds Collide: Poetry and Computation” visited the Graphic Arts Collection looking at ways the classic poetry book has been deconstructed beginning with Walt Whitman’s 1855 Leaves of Grass to a 2017 scroll edition of Hart Crane’s The Bridge with woodblock prints by Joel Shapiro. A wide variety of materials were pulled including four distinct versions of Stéphane Mallarmé’s Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hazard. Pages designed in positive and negative space are featured in Paul Éluard’s Proverbe, Guillaume Apollinaire’s Calligrammes, and Werner Pfeiffer’s Liber Mobile.
The interdisciplinary seminar, taught by Brian W. Kernighan and Efthymia Rentzou, brings together humanities and applied sciences, addressing questions of literacy, media, and modes of knowledge. The course is organized around poetry and digital technology and explores the history of each as systems of relating, organizing, and understanding the real. Media technologies and means of communication for both poetry and computing — from orality to writing, from the alphabet to the printing press, from the scroll to the book, from computers to the internet — structure our discussion.
Here’s a pdf of the checklist: poetry