Sunday Book-Thought 60

AutoPoet embodied an inappropriate idea of poetry. As long as the goal was the imitation of a human poet – or as long as the poem’s reader was encouraged to think that was the goal – I wasn’t likely to get any farther. What’s wrong with the AutoPoetry I’ve quoted here (and all the other reams of it the machine would produce until it was turned off) is exactly that it’s imitation poetry. All our habits of reading are called upon, all the old expectations, and then let down. “Monologues of Soul and Body” had worked because its “body” sections were so different from human poetry. It had successfully demanded its own way of reading.
Charles O. Hartman, Virtual Muse: Experiments in Computer Poetry (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1996), p. 72.


Sunday Book-Thought 59

All Western ‘scientific’ models of communication are, like the Shannon-Weaver model, linear, logical, and sequential in accordance with the pattern of efficient causality.
These are all in the figure-minus-ground mode of the left hemisphere, and in contrast do not relate to the effects of simultaneity and discontinuity and resonance that typify experience in an electronic culture. For use in the electric age, a right-hemisphere model of communication is necessary, both because our culture has nearly completed the process of shifting its cognitive modes from the left to the right hemisphere, and because the electronic media themselves are right-hemisphere in their patterns and operation. The problem is to discover such a model that yet is congenial to our culture with its residuum of left-hemisphere tradition. Such a model would have to take into account the apposition of both figure and ground instead of concentrating solely on an abstract sequence or movement isolated from any ground.
Marshall McLuhan and Eric McLuhan, Laws of Media: The New Science (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988), pp. 90-91.