George Ttoouli and Theodoros Chiotis have been having a (very long and very slow) conversation about Code Poetry. This began before the relaunch of G&P in its new incarnation as a bastion of sweeping cultural misjudgements and ad hominem salvos at the human world’s failure to stimulate our overweaned attention spans away from the stupor of growing global isolationism and ignorance-entrenchment.*
The conversation has been about code and poetry, poetry which uses code, the poetics of computer language. Let’s be honest here: Code Poetry is not a thing yet. But let’s raise those capital letters; let’s make a thing where no thing was, to see if that brief act of objectification can achieve some kind of good. To that end, GT has taken a crude series of amateur snapshots of that conversation, beginning with this introduction, and to include some examples of work by each of us – mostly by Theo – to illustrate the exchange.
The concept of Code Poetry arose for me when I swapped some poems with Theo Chiotis, many years ago. While we were back and forthing, Theo edited and published an anthology of work from Greece and the Greek diaspora (including a piece by me): Futures:Poetry of the Greek Crisis. We discussed the anthology back in August 2016 at the Poetry Library and, if you listen to Tom Chiver’s intro, you’ll hear mention of Code Poetry, but – horror of horrors! – the panel never discusses Code Poetry!
To prevent the spread of this logical black hole, herein: the gap plugger. This article carries the pretence of offering you everything you need to know about Code Poetry, but were afraid to ask, sufficiently thrown about the digi-room like two dogs playing squash with a kitten until you’re too frightened to ask more questions, in case it goes all grid-shaped right through the racket.
To begin, the codepoem (look! it’s become a compound noun!) by Theo which triggered the discussion. Then a piece by me, referenced in my first email. Then the discussion in two parts. Then, to close, a final codepoem by Theo (in Greek, no translation) with procedurally generated spheres.
What is CodePoetry? Answers on a postcard, to the unusual address. Or keep reading.
* Feel free to take scissors, cut out this last, clunky, overstretched sentence from your screen and replace it with whatever phrase you prefer to use to describe late capitalism’s self-immolation. G&P accepts no responsibility for your attempt to cut out a piece of your computer screen whatsoever, but will be grateful, should your attempt succeed and you not be horribly electrocuted by the process, for the loss of your readership.