“Electracy” And The New Digital Poetics – Conversations/Interventions with Daniel Y. Harris, Irene Koronas and Others

Posted on Posted in Poetry
When?  Thursday, October 18, 2019, 4-6 p.m. |  Friday, October 19, 3-6 pm. (TGIF follow-up)
Where?  Sturm Hall 480, University of Denver | Marion Street Tavern, 1223 E 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80218

Contact:  Carl Raschke, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Denver, carlraschke@gmail.com; Olesia Stockhold, University of Denver, olesia.stockhold@du.edu, 303-871-2063

“What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” the ancient Christian thinker Tertullian pointedly asked in highlighting the apparent incommensurability between the two dominant discourses of his day – philosophy and religious revelation.

Daniel Y. Harris

Today, considering the disconsolation of the arts and humanities amidst the

digitization of all life and experience as the computer revolution draws ever more inexorably toward a so-called “posthuman” future, we might ask a similar, but seemingly precarious question: “What has Stratford-on-Avon to do with Silicon Valley?”

If you ask Daniel Y. Harris and Irene Koronas, editors of the Santa-Fe based experimental online poetry magazine X-Peri, the answer is…well, they have everything to do with each other.

According to Harris, computer algorithms are the new lingua franca of our

Irene Koronas

time, and poetry – if it is to be the genuinely rich and vibrant vox populi of this age – must take on the voice of the very machines that are coding our thought and culture.

Just as the visual arts of the modernist period between the world wars (e.g., Dadaism) discovered “found objects” as the grist for a revolutionary transformation of what constitutes both form and matter in esthetic experience,  “so experimental poetry takes with it today the remarkable experimental narrative that uses, and has used, codes, algorithms, internet language – in short, every type of…meme – as if it has been written cybernetically, or robotically,” notes Harris.

Harris and Koronas, the latter of whom is also a prominent painter as well as a poet, seek to provoke their own twenty-first century artistic upheaval by abolishing the boundaries between traditional modes of literacy and the new digital cultural competence that theorist Gregory Ungar has dubbed “electracy.”  Indeed, they seek, as one of their own pieces of promotional literature asserts, to “reassemble the Western canon as a malware maelstrom of over-competing algorithms and agons modelled on the arch-classic Horatian Ode, “Exegi monumentum aere perennius” (I have finished a monument more durable than bronze).“

Harris, who is a University of Denver alumnus and a noted Jewish poet, and Koronas, who is a celebrated poet and visual artist, will engage the Denver community in a set of “conversations” and “interventions” (i.e., group demonstrations of the grass roots potential of the new digital poetics).

The first set of conversations will be held on the University of Denver campus from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, October 18 in Sturm Hall 480.  There will be a reception for those in attendance from 6-7 pm.  A slightly less formal “TGIF” follow-up will take place form 3-6 pm on Friday, October 19 at the Marion Street Tavern,1223 E. 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80218.

On Thursday they will be joined in conversation with Trace Reddell, Associate Professor of Emergent Digital Practices and W. Scott Howard, Associate Professor of English at the University of Denver.

At both events Harris and Koronas will  be a introducing their latest books The Tryst of Thetica Zorg (volume 2 in the “Posthuman Series”, published by Blazevox Books out of Buffalo, New York) and declivities (volume 3 of “The Grammaton Series” by the same book house).

The Tryst of Thetica Zorg has been endorsed by the distinguished American poet and critic Kenneth Goldsmith, currently at Penn State University, who comments that the work is a “monumental achievement” which, “by siphoning the modernisms of Arno Schmidt, Maurice Roche, and James Joyce through the digital…exquisitely extends the discourse of endless textuality into the twenty-first century.”

Finally, through incorporating as a nouveau esthetique contribution to the academic world on a vast range of sources from Derrida and deconstruction to the literature of so-called  “posthumanism” and “the new materialism,” Harris and Koronas offer a distinctive entry point for poetry and literary theory to be involved in the emergent interdisciplinary discussions known as “the new critical theory.”

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