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      Temporal Irritations of Code in Ben Lerner’s Mean Free Path poems

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      Politics of the Machines - Art and After (EVA Copenhagen)

      Digital arts and culture

      15 - 17 May 2018

      Glitch, poetics, code, digital, temporality

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          Abstract

          In this paper, I explore the unconscious effects of computer code, by reading how it is rendered — or ‘negatively figured’ — in the work of the contemporary lyric poet Ben Lerner. Lerner’s book of poems Mean Free Path (2010) provides clear indications of a relatively rare post-digital tendency in contemporary poetry: it is a literature that emphasises the instabilities and problems of digital age communication, even as it admits to the absolute saturation of contemporary experience in digital processes, and therefore the impossibility of writing (reading) outside of them. The presence and pervasiveness of computer code, I suggest, forces the heightened, personalised language of the lyric poet into a new awareness of their role as storing and yielding a expressive intent. What I call ‘Glitch Poetics’ is a form of reading and writing with error that is sensitive to contemporary language as a system. In this case, I observe that language is infected, perhaps compromised, by the temporalities and structures of computer code. This short paper is an example of the way that Glitch Poetics readings of traditional forms of literature can help explore what the digital means to us at this historical juncture.

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          Most cited references 4

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          Traumas of Code

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            Ben Lerner [poet, novelist]

             T. Lin,  T. LIN (2010)
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              A Vernacular of File Formats

               R Menkman (2010)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Conference
                May 2018
                May 2018
                : 1-4
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Lancaster University

                UK
                Article
                10.14236/ewic/EVAC18.21
                © Jones. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of EVA Copenhagen 2018, Denmark

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Politics of the Machines - Art and After
                EVA Copenhagen
                7
                Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark
                15 - 17 May 2018
                Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
                Digital arts and culture

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