Author Archives: Mary

S – Week 9 Log

5/26: 5 hours of working on final paper, 1 hours of NetLogo, 2 hours on Excel

5/27: 2.25 hrs of class, 4 hours of working on final paper, 3 hours on Calculated Poetics readings, 1 hour on Excel

5/28: 4 hours of final paper, 2 hours of preparing presentation, 2 hours on academic statement

5/29: 3 class, 5 hours on final paper, 1 hour on NetLogo

5/30: 2 hours of class, 2 hours of peer support, 3 hours on compiling a portfolio

5/31: 2 hours of preparing presentation, 1 hour on self-eval

6/1: 3 hours on self-eval

S – Week 8 Log

5/19: 4 hours of writing final project, 2 hours of library research

5/20: 2.25 hrs of class, 2 hours of reading Out of Everywhere: Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America and the UK, 2 hours of Calculated Poetics reading

5/21: 3.75 of class, 1 hour of writing poem, 2 hours of library research

5/22: 3 class, 2 hours of revising poem, 2 hours of writing final project

5/23: 2 class, 3 hours of reading Electronic Literature by Hayles, 4 hours of writing final project

5/24: 5 hours of NetLogo (my eyes…), 1 hours of writing final project

5/25: 6 hours of writing final project

S – Week 8: S/T


“Depending on what I meant by here and me, and being, and there I never went looking for extravagant meanings, there I never much varied, only the here would sometimes seem to vary.” –Samuel Beckett, Stories & Texts for Nothing

“…Libraries have survived as an institution in part because of the success of the internal orders of books. That is, the tension between the library’s external order and the internal orders of books makes the library a success. The internal orders of books contain and supersede external orders through their status as writing.” Loss Pequeno Glazier, Digital Poetics: The Making of E-Poetries

– – –

“Good intension.”

My science-bent peer delivers this breathtaking typo and I silently thank her for valuing i more than “t”.[1]


I try to explain that GOOD! everything actually is better in tension.

Meaning doesn’t coagulate around singulars– an event has no hermeneutic value unless placed within

A tense shift or

A cloud saturated with potential or

A storm: every raindrop a crystallized conjunction.


Tension maintains shape.

The bead of water cloistered into itself,

The insides pulling outside, re-membraning like blood

Tension creates definition.

Paradigmatic chains illustrating how all precision is relational,

Language a loosened network of differences.

And tension creates beauty.

Her muddled consonants rubbing up against a paper-trailed legacy,

A frictioned formalism sparking so much more than what she




We are lost in the desert of babble,

Where words swallow meaning and I don’t see a tower.

I think we’re in the wrong Babel.


Otherwise, I would climb the tower and then be further away from water.



We are lost in the valley of idea and word,

Where my tree doesn’t look like your tree doesn’t look like Ferdinand’s tree.


This is what makes a forest.



I don’t think I’ve ever understood things the way they were intended to be.


The sparks will keep me warm.

[1] “I love generative mistakes,” I say.

“Did you say you love generative music? Me too!” says an eavesdropping classmate.

m _ s _ _ _ _

_ i _ t a k e (this as a good sign.)

S – Week 8 Bachelardian Reverie

“…Individuals observing a rubber hand will sometimes attribute sensation to that hand rather than to their own. For example, experimental subjects will make this false attribution if they see the ‘alien hand’ being stroked by a brush while their own equivalent hand is stroked in the same way but is hidden from sight. After a few minutes, they will ‘feel’ the stroking on the rubber hand , even though it is separate from their body, rather than in their own, hidden, hand. It seems that the brain has attributed the sensation to a physically distinct object within its field of vision, and in the process, it has somehow incorporated that alien object into the body.” (Rose & Abi-Rached, 207)

“The chosen fragment converts itself into a text no longer a bit of a text, a part of a sentence or a discourse, but a chosen bit, an amputated limb, not yet a transplant, but already an organ, cut off and placed in reserve.” Antoine Compagnon

I fear the revelation of seams: I will wake up and realize I am patchwork

An integration of many, assemblages of technology.

Joints are just operable disjunctions, and I have learned to ignore the sutures. If I spend my hours parsing parts,

Organizing organs,

I’ll lose my self between the meat.


Stroked hands stroking hands

My neurons are phonemes placed in synaptic sentences.

The prosthetics of text,

Language accumulates language accumulates body.


Hands are a point of manipulation: sculpting, digits to clay.

Hands are a point of integration: eating, digits to lips.


How much trust must we lend before something is rendered identifiable?

How absent must our own hands be before we begin to feel for another’s?

Empathy is a loophole in our theory of mind—

Will our own hands dissolve if we don’t look at them enough?


Hands signify humanity: they are flesh turned culture, rods of carbon capable of theft.

Hands, organs of bunched flesh, are the means of mediating self and other, to a point of contamination: hands become other. Culturally portent, there is a reason for the cinematic trope of the revolting hand—a hand in revolt. Although disembodied, a hand refuses to die; it has yet to recognize a dis-integration.


We incorporate, and wait for our body to betray us.

Trust comes easy.

Trust, our fleshless organ.

S – Week 7: Fabling the Quanta

Fabling the Quanta

“They talk of attraction and magnetism; these notions suggest a force acting between two given bodies; what is left out of account is how utterly the bodies appear to change in themselves; they are no longer the given bodies. The fact of being given has changed them.” John Berger, G

When I wake up tomorrow morning, I hope to find a national dispatch upon my landing. In panic-caps the thin paper will read, “BREAKING NEWS: TECHNOLOGY HAS FAILED, NOTHING WORKS ANYMORE.” It turns out that late last night, a tinkering physicist had distilled the unified theory of everything from the wings of a beetle. She had plucked these exoskeletal apostrophes of armored flight off the insect, letting them roll and settle in her palm. She read the otherwise concealed equation that was indelibly scratched into its nacreous enamel. She cross-checked it with her collection of identical equations: it was the same string of numbers to be found on the inside of bamboo shoots, read from the backs of sky-bound larks, and cast by the shadows of volcanic ash. She had read the surface, junction, and bend of every particle and wave, and this last beetle completed her inventory of everything.

She had abolished uncertainty. She was spiritualities inverse, lying in complement to any God that’s ever been forgotten.

Unfortunately, there was something remarkably self-defeating about this unified theory of everything. It was undermining: as soon as she completed her database, her computer’s fan hummed to a halt. The lights flickered out. Michelle Norris’ voice suddenly went mute from within her battery-powered radio, and silence was replaced by the sound of an airplane falling into a valley’s basin. It would have been easy to consider coincidence, blame it on some magnetically charged cloud coverage or terrorist attack that happened to coincide with her discovery. But… a few things take etiological priority, and unified theories are at the top. And of course, this was a theory of everything so, after substituting a few variables, two things were clear:

1)   Ecological disasters, national disasters, and epistemological disasters were suddenly inseparable. They had merged together into one holistic metaphysical concept: disaster.

2)   Oops. Could she get away with blaming the beetle?

She had rode its iridescent backside to an illogical but wholly recognizable outcome: after a universal decoding, a leveling took place. Suddenly, myths of depth collapsed upon themselves and the entirety of Western civilization sunk a few inches. This was enough to dangle power lines, shift the world’s orbit, and confuse weather-sensitive dogs. There was no harnessed electricity. There were no operable factories. There were no paper trails.

Everything was wiped clean. Tabula rasa.

Everything was back at zero. Reboot.

Her equation had rendered itself useless, instantly artifactual. A cipher for the old world.


This is when I would open my front door and untie twine from tree pulp, unfurling explanations brought to me through antediluvian printing mechanisms.


My neighbor would swing from his doorway, fingers anchoring himself to the inner molding. He’d smile.

He’d assure me that, in a way, this was the best thing that could have ever happened—it was about time we reinvented the wheel. We were given the gift of our own beginning, and we would never forget the beetle.

S – Week 7 Log

5/12: 3 hours NetLogo, 1 hour reading Caroline Bergvall’s poetry, 2 hours with Unoriginal Genius

5/13: 1 hour of class time, 2 hours reading Calculated Poetry, 1 hour w/ N. Rose’s website/lectures, 1 hour with E-Poetics, 1 hour writing final project

5/14: 3.75 of class, 3 hours with NetLogo, 1 hour with Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms, 1959-1995, 1 hour writing poetry

5/15: 3 hrs of class, 3 hours at Troubling the Line book release reading, 2 hours revising poetry, 1 hour with Neuro  

5/16: 2 hours of class, 1 with Neuro, 3 hours writing final project

5/17: 2 hours with Unoriginal Genius, 3 hours reading prose poems lent from John

5/18: 1 hour with Unoriginal Genius, 2 hours writing Bachelardian Reverie, 1 hr with Ron Silliman’s blog (check out the post on Leonard Schwartz, Evergreen professor, posted on 5/19!), 1 hr with Kenny Goldsmith’s work

S – Week 7 Bachelardian Reverie

“In each generation, unsurprisingly, these arguments are made on the basis of whatever happens to be the current mode of objectivity about the development of children—habits, the will, instinct theory, psychoanalysis, and today the brain. Social justice, it seems, lies not in tackling the causes of structural inequality, poverty, poor housing, unemployment, and the like, but in managing parents in the name of the formation of good citizens.” (Rose & Abi-Rached, 196)


What’s the essence of morality?

Is it an alloy of metals, cheap and bendable like a steel-aluminum compound,

Or is there a crystalline rigidity to its composition,

Built by a singular, signature element?


The gavel is a leveling technology:

It fattens out specificities of who’s and when’s and where’s—

I’m mostly scared of losing the why’s—

The insistence of comparability that assumes all murders are congruous.


Dogs bite the hand that feeds them for a reason.

You put too much trust in your fellow man,

Assuming that he’s not carrying poison.


People have always been reactionary:

We do things for reasons.


Retell my body repeatedly.

Use different languages, tenses.

Interpretation or translation?

Let my arteries reveal a map of intent

And my breath a cipher of childhood.

Explain my brain, my heart, my core

Toil away, spiraling closer

Towards anything that can be claimed

The most precious.


If you asked me to read my form,

I could explain every inch of weight.

I would tell you how freckles were once sun

Flesh once fruit

And scar once entry.

Every pock an imprint from another surface:

My boundaries are only explainable when read as nexus.

I don’t claim interiority:

I have never seen my insides;

If I had to guess how my body manages to stay together,

I’d explain that I’m a product of pressure.

Layers of sediment squeezed into shape.

Social concentrate.

S – Week 6: Notes from a Surgeon

Dedicated to anyone whose feminism gets in the way of their ability to leave the house.

Notes from a Surgeon 

My education has trained me to be if not distrustful, then at least neglectful of beauty. When the bulk of credits earned are split between ‘critical theory’ and ‘social psychology of disgust’, you know that your dictionary of aesthetics has a few revisions. My peers titter away in literature departments, clutching ugly reprints of Women in Love, hunting for any viscous droplet of beauty clinging to skeuomorphic serifs. They’re waiting for that linguistic chocolate on their pillow—quotable redemption. For them, beauty is meaning. For them, beauty means feeling.

Meanwhile, I’ve taken glances at beauty and noticed some alarming features. From my vantage point, beauty serves to condition desire and discipline how we experience bliss. There’s something pernicious about beauty, especially because it’s so hard to critique. Beauty is sacred. Beauty is qualitative. Claims of beauty place ideas, places, and objects outside the realm of analysis—to deconstruct them would be blasphemous and defiling. To deconstruct beauty would break meaning-making structures and leave us with all the wrong feelings.

I’ve learned that you do not cut open an angel’s torso in order to study her anatomy. I never wanted to get blood on anyone’s parade, and so I kept quiet: it’s simply easier to ignore beauty than to ruin someone’s fun. I’ve tuned it out, made it the non-subject of my non-studies. But now I’m here, and I need to convince this angel—the one I’ve been threatening to cut up for so long—I need to convince her to fly.

You do not cut open an angel’s torso in order to study her anatomy.
You know why we don’t do these things?
We don’t do these things because when you cut open an angel, then she no longer is one. Because once you see how things work, they suddenly don’t.

I’ve been holding the scalpel. I’ve been cutting open your angels.
I’ve seen their insidious insides:
Full of cogs and grease, organs of plasticine and steel.
When I say mechanisms, I mean it: their blood is oil,
Petrol pumped from war-torn nations, alchemically rearranged
To make your fake silk and lemongrass scented candles.

God, your angels are filthy on the inside.

But: I do this for a reason.
I splice and separate because I don’t think ugliness should find sanctuary in how things work.
Because I’d rather have a broken angel than an angel whose belly aches
from eating the discontents of many.

Months go by.
I accumulate more dead angels.
I shoot them out of the air and take the fraudulent psalms from their mouths.
I pile their corpses in my apartment,
Floor-bound in leaden stacks, draped over armchairs,
Or most perversely,
Scattered among my bed sheets, with a few wedged between mattress and plaster.
And although I haven’t opened all of them,
I can tell you how many cuts are needed to make an angel monstrous:
With a good appendix, it can take under 65 pages.

Sure, sometimes I wish I knew how to sew:
Before I sutured her wounds,
I would wipe off her cogs, degrease her joints, and give her different organs.
I would say, I’m sorry I tinker. You can’t help that you work.
But I don’t know how to sew and I don’t know what to do with these angels.
All they do is remind me of how much easier it is to expose ugliness than to create beauty.

I direct the reader to my torso,
Acknowledging that–
Although I claim to be nobody’s angel–
My insides go unseen,
My flesh unscarred.
And my ankles fettered to this ground.

S – Week 6 Log

5/5: 3 hours of reading Digital Poetics: The Making of E-Poetics, 1 writing Bachelardian Reverie, 1 hr of Calculated Poetics reading and writing, 3 hrs with Unoriginal Genius

5/6: 2.25 hrs of class, 1 hr of Calculated Poetics, 3 hours with Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms, 1959-1995

5/7: 3.75 of class, 3 hrs of learning NetLogo (3 tutorials)

5/8: 3 class, .5 hrs of meeting with David McAvity, 2 hrs of QuASR tutoring about NetLogo

5/9: 2 class, 3 hrs of learning NetLogo, 3 hrs freewriting

5/10: 2 hrs reading Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms, 1959-1995

5/11: 3 hrs with Neuro, 3 hrs with Digital Poetics

S – Week 6: Bachelardian Reverie

Neuro, Chapter 5 

“Perhaps arguments from neuroscience are merely being invoked to give such proposals a sheen of objectivity—for they are often criticized as arising from hopes rather than facts.” (Rose & Abi-Rached, 162)


Every time science attempts to locate a neurological basis of some social phenomena, there’s a concretization of importance: social values are substantiated as biological inevitabilities. This process of naturalization frequently serves the dominant order, as it reifies and concretizes traditional value systems.

Example: competition is a necessity within capitalism. Systems of competition are justified within Darwinian evolutionary science, leading proponents of capitalism to say, “Look, we can’t help but compete. It’s in our genes.” Repeat justifications of the social order through science ad infinitum.


Within science, the greatest disagreements arise over findings that disrupt the social order.


The scientific community has been squabbling about the existence of mirror neurons, and I wonder if they’re proving to be so controversial because they naturalize social values like empathy, reciprocity, and connectedness. Science is giving us a neurological impetus to be nice to each other—an incentive that throws a few wrenches in the cogs of modern living.