Posts for Tag | Dorothy Livesay

Speculative Computing as Methodology

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Author
Benjamin Laird

Primarily, my project The Code of Things is researching the differences in the representation of a person in biographical poetry across media. This of course has methodological implications: representing a person in biographical poetry requires an approach that takes historical information and reinterprets it as poetry.

In Dorothy Livesay’s essay The Documentary Poem: A Canadian Genre she writes that documentary poetry is “a conscious attempt to create a dialectic between the objective facts and subjective feelings of the poet”. And while I think there are differences between biographical poetry and documentary poetry, I still find Livesay’s suggested dialectic to be at the centre of both kinds of poetry.

Moving biographical poetry into programmable media immediately affects the process of writing poetry. Usually for me, writing print-based poems requires drawing in multiple sources and software—such as LibreOffice and Inkscape. While my poems in programmable media will often follow a ...

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Truth or Beauty and Bloody Jack

Published
Author
Benjamin Laird

At the end of November I presented a paper at Truth or Beauty: Poetry and Biography in Wellington. It was useful and interesting to hear a range of views on biographical poetry (or verse biography as it was sometimes referred).

I presented on my own works-in-progress but mostly on Dennis Cooley’s Bloody Jack. Bloody Jack, which is loosely about the life of the early twentieth-century Manitoban outlaw John Krafchenko, has two editions. The first was published in 1984 with the second edition—which includes alterations to poems, additional poems and poems moved within the sequence—published in 2002. What is fascinating about the two editions of Bloody Jack is how the representation of John Krafchenko’s life story in them is unstable.

Biographical poetry tends not to get its own description so my starting point was within documentary poetry (which is too wide a category but I will leave that ...

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