For thousands of years, formal compositional rules of rhyme, metre and rhetorical devices have shaped the language of poetry, creating “meaning” through the interplay between these culturally determined aesthetic prerequisites imposed on its syntax, and the “other” intelligence of the poet pushing against these constraints. Bardy Google reinvents these formal boundaries within the frame of our wired world.
With only one hidden exception, each of the texts in this book was constructed through Frank Davey’s use of speci?cally devised Internet searches. The “rules” for their composition varied: “Love + 560” began at the 560th line of the search results; most selections excluded incomplete sentences; most included only the ?rst sentence of a search result; all excluded sentences in which all the terms searched for did not occur; and all except two sequenced the sentences in the order found. Some, such as “Time Lapse Action,” “Sorry” and “The Imaginaries,” contain tonal shifts enabled by an abrupt change of the search protocol during their composition. In all cases, any re-composition of the pieces was done only by revising the initial search protocol and generating a new text to replace a previous one.
Because the content of the Internet, and the search-engine priorities assigned to that content, change continuously, these texts are unique and unrepeatable. The same search protocols used in a later month or year could produce quite different results from those assembled here—or distressingly similar ones.
These texts are part of Davey’s ongoing work on the use of the sentence as the basic structural unit of poetry—to create poetic texts, as they have always been created, out of the materials of prose. They also constitute another of his forays into cultural commentary—in this case, disclosing how our engagement with globalized culture creates meaning as it “speaks through itself.”