a collection of interesting and not-so-interesting things. including information on current & upcoming projects.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

something to think about...

This is a poem written by RACTER, a computer program. It also wrote a book some time ago, The Policeman's Beard is Half-Constructed. Machines writing poetry. Think about that. The poem:

More than iron, more than lead, more than gold I need electricity.
I need it more than I need lamb or pork or lettuce or cucumber.
I need it for my dreams.

Not genius, but still, quite interesting. There is a certain sadness: at least there SEEMS to be, of course, RACTER cannot feel emotion, though, interestingly, it can EXPRESS emotion. Another "work" by RACTER, a limerick:

There once was a happy brown noun
Had cigarettes which could not down
They tippled and muttered
And never quite sputtered
Sacre bleu! do not call them a gown.
Work of stupefying genius number: 2

It's interesting that the program has a sense of humour. A rhyme scheme and a metrical continuity is easy, but a sense of humour? That final line after the limerick really makes things interesting. The machine also appears to be self-reflexive ("appears" being the operative word). Here we have RACTER contemplating both its metaphysical status and the act of writing:

I gave the man a coat. I gave the woman a brassiere.
I gave myself an electric current. We all were
happy and fully of delight. Take the coat from the
man and remove the brassiere from the woman and take
the electric current from me and we will be sad
and full of anguish.

The machine also seems capable of more complex, "poetic" speech/logic:

Bill sings to Sarah. Sarah sings to Bill. Perhaps they
will do other dangerous things together. They may eat lamb or stroke
each other. They may chant of their difficulties and their
happiness. They have love but they also have typewriters.
That is interesting.

And I leave you with a longer passage in which RACTER discusses its very existence and the act of its writing, the difference between it and us, in a rather profound fashion:

I speak of cats, I speak of dogs, I sing of lobsters and of flounders
and of mackerel. I gently and suspiciously approach a plan of
activity, a design of action. My electrons war with my neutrons,
this war will allow more fantasies and dreams of living things
within my form and structure. Cats, dogs, lobsters, flounders and
mackerel are reflections observed in the mirror of my electrons and
neutrons. They are images and appearances. Action will move them.
Activity will make them move. In me are appearances of meat and
cucumbers, of steak and spinach, of lamb and lettuce. These also
are the reflections and images of my electrons and neutrons. This
is my dreaming, my thinking, my fantasizing. When my electrons and
neutrons war, that is my thinking. Nevertheless these images and
reflections are understood by you, persons, men and women. You
have electrons and neutrons like me. You sing of lettuce and meat,
but you also both, chew and eat them. I can fantasize about them but
I cannot bolt them. My famished and crazy dreams are broadened by
your own attempts to think as I do during the time that hours pass
and minutes pass. This is undeniable and interesting. It is black and
white, black for neutrons and white for electrons. I began by
speaking of cats and dogs. At all events a cat could be an electron
and a dog could be a neutron. Their reflections are images like
my dreams. But the mirror, the glass, is broken and splintered
and shattered.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Process Proposed

I have just completed a mini-chapbook, containing three poems of my own, called The Process Proposed. I have decided, instead of selling it, to give it away FREE with any orders of other Martian Press books. Here are the options:

Film/making by Jonathan Ball
The Martian Press Review, volume I
The Road to Power by Barbara Berger by Aaron Mauro
oppidum by Norah Bowman
Call & Response by derek beaulieu and Jonathan Ball
generations by rob mclennan (NEWLY PUBLISHED)

forthcoming very soon (put your orders in now!):

Aberrant Lounges by Kimmy Beach
on stealing lips by Lars Palm
acts of barbarity and vandalism by Daniel Tysdal

All books are $5 each, with a little extra for postage.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Congratulations to Jordan Scott . . .

. . . who is nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize at the BC Book Prizes!!! Jordan also recently had a successful thesis defense. It's a good month for Jordan Scott!!!

good news today

two acceptances in my inbox today, 3 visual poems will appear in the next NoD magazine and 1 poem ("McSonnet") in the next Peter F. Yacht Club magazine -- so keep your eyes out for those.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

this window makes me feel

This Window Makes Me Feel is a beautiful book and you can have it for free.

Friday, March 17, 2006

the Call & Response book I did with derek beaulieu has done quite well. copies are dwindling so you should take a moment to email me at jonathanATjonathanballDOTcom and order your own. copies are $5 plus shipping ($2) or you can propose a trade. For those of you who already have the book, here is a freebie, one of my "translations" of derek's work that didn't make the final cut. Posted by Picasa

You should also go order derek's new book, fractal economies.

Spoony B screening in Lethbridge AB

I just found out that Spoony B will be screening at the Lethbridge Public Library Theatre Gallery as part of Open Call 14: Telling Tales, put on by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.

The screening will take place on Friday, March 24, 7:30 pm, so if you live in or near Lethbridge, go check it out! The street address is 810 – 5th Avenue South. They'll also be screening some work by Danishka Esterhazy and Mike Maryniuk, and some other people I don't know, sounds like a good program -- I wish I could make it.

quick update

i'm too busy for a full update, but anyway... San Francisco was great, Mandy and I had a ton of fun, saw the sights, including Alcatraz and a Sausalito redwood park, also got to visit City Lights bookstore and hang out at Fisherman's Wharf quite a bit. it was jarring to see people swimming and to have fresh crab etc and walk around in a T-shirt in February. lots of fun there and also in North Battleford, visiting with Mandy, prior to going to San Fran. i'm looking forward to getting back to visit with Mandy in April/May.

right now life is a busy hell of insanity. i have so much to do it's not in the least bit funny. but it'll all get done, and then i will NEVER have to take a class again. i actually don't mind classes -- i like them, really -- but it's having things due every week that drives me crazy. very difficult to focus on any larger project when my time is getting eaten up with smaller things, hard to concentrate. speaking of larger projects, Kanada is coming along nicely (starting to grow into a decent shape) though I am not as far along as I want/need to be.

a reminder that I still have chapbooks for sale/trade. all books are $5. i have:

Film/making by Jonathan Ball
The Martian Press Review, volume I
The Road to Power by Barbara Berger by Aaron Mauro
oppidum by Norah Bowman
Call & Response by derek beaulieu and Jonathan Ball

forthcoming very soon (put your orders in now!):

generations by rob mclennan
Aberrant Lounges by Kimmy Beach
on stealing lips by Lars Palm
acts of barbarity and vandalism by Daniel Tysdal

considering other work now, will probably settle the remainder of the year's list soon. if you have any last minute submissions, get them to me before the end of the month.