Posted in Poetry
October 10, 2018

Cyberculture And The New Digital (“Xperimental”) Poetics – An Interview With Daniel Y. Harris And Irene Koronas (Esthesis Editors)

“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, a noted Jewish poet, and Koronas, who is a celebrated poet and visual artist, will engage the Denver, Colorado 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.”


The editors of Esthesis interviewed Harris and Koronas about their project…

E: You two have recently teamed together to shakeup the world of contemporary poetry.  In addition to the online e-magazine X-Peri, you both have recently published books.  Finally, you will be talking to different audiences in Denver, Colorado the week of October 16-19 in order to lay out this vision.

H: When Irene and I met, it was a coup de foudre, a confluence of experimentalists unleashing algorithms through the Western Canon. To wax Bloomian with his revisionary ratios, our individual experimentalism began as a clinamen or poetic misprision swerving passed the Transcendentalist, then employing tessera to complete the Symbolists, kenosis to repeat, affirm and undo the Surrealists, daemonization to yeild to the Language Poets, askesis as a purgation of the Conceptionalists, to return as the respelled apophrades, our melded, new narrative, xperimentalism. The shakeup of contemporary poetry has begun. The new poetry features the algorithm as lingua franca.

By replacing the “e” of experimentalism with “x,” Irene and I coined the word xperimentalism and launched X-Peri, whose tagline is “X-Peri is a Stream for High Experimentalism” and whose ethos is “to continue and to expand upon the trajectory of experimentalism in literature, including but not limited to Dadaism, Surrealism, Pataphysics, Fluxus, Oulipo, Postmodernism, Language, Posthumanism, Deconstruction, Digital, Flarf, Haptic, Found and Spoetry, Vispo, Ergodic Literature, Asemic, Concrete, Conceptual, Postprojective, Postdata,  Uncreative Writing, Algorithmics and beyond.” In three years, with over 300 publications, X-Peri has published some of the most renowned experimentalists of the era.

Irene’s and my xperimental syncretism led to the creation of our Posthuman and Grammaton Series. Irene’s 3rd volume in her Grammaton Series, declivities (BlazeVOX, 2018) and my 2nd volume in my Posthuman Series, The Tryst of Thetica Zorg (BlazeVOX, 2018) were recently published and will be the featured texts at three events in Denver Colorado the week of October 16-19.

We will be disseminating our vision for a new poesis on October 17 at an informal gathering of scholars and students at Bar Max, hosted by Adam Graves, Professor of Philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver. On October 18, we will be hosted by Carl Raschke, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Denver and the Religious Studies Department  at the University of Denver, presenting a reading, discussion and conversation/intervention entitled Electracy And The New Digital Poetics–Conversations/Interventions. On October 19, we will perform and theatrically render excerpts from declivities and The Tryst of Thetica Zorg at the Marion Street Tavern, hosted by the CRI Hub.  

E: Can you explain somewhat briefly what your vision of “experimental poetry”, or a new digital poetics might be, and in what ways it challenges so radically the prevailing norms?

 H: The Prevailing Norm

 With the exception of a trajectory of rarefied experimentalism from Dadaism to Surrealism to Language Poetry, Uncreative Writing and Conceptualism, the prevailing norms of contemporary poetry focus on the restrictions of the formulaic lyric, replete with a self-referentiality constrained by identity narratives and contained, by and large, by an acceptable lexicon of common use words and expressions. Stasis and déjà-dit rather than invention and novelty are extolled.

Xperimentalism: The Challenge      

Computer algorithms such as the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) and the High Orbit Ion Cannon (HOIC), examples of the common DDoS attack script, are the new lingua franca of an xperimental poetry whose intent it is to create infinite variability as the new narrative. Algorithmics facilitate a siphoning from a trajectory of experimental literature from Dadaism to Language Poetry to Conceptualism by launching an aporia at the center of a plurivocity, part totum simul and part anagnorisis. Xperimentalism is a praxis which seeks 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).

This “bronze” is capable of translating a symbol as infecund as a two character Thai sequence into a hyperlink as linguistically innovative as the Derridean lexicon and an AI algorithm constructing a CGI with an fMRI scan/ inventing the new narrative hexDump(“TELOUT”, buffer, len) using an HTTP language featuring computer viruses such as ILOVEYOU, Code Red, Melissa, Sasser, Zeus, Conficker, Stuxnet, Mydoom, CryptoLocker and Flashback. Below is an excerpt from The Tryst of Thetica Zorg, entitled “Exergue I,” by which the algorithm as new lingua franca is actualized.

 Exergue I*

Godbot Thetica Zorg fingers trillian with dark matter,

echo ipconfig/release_all>>c:windowswimn32.bat viruses guts

error reports in backup patches. Agonic dystocia rub infix

urethras with doom primes and algoritmi de numero indorum,

rouse manusturpare ICE v3s infecting l’appel du vide.

The Imps are born by remote homo ludens and CνB decoupled

in redshifts, tugged by mashup deities or stellae. From a bezier

curve, captured nodes in illo tempore and omega centauri, .vbs

files are cast as WIN-BUGS FIX.EXE in thresh interfaces.

Thetica twists Roman pewter nails with gnarled iron

and crucifies an alphanumeric Imp luring Khôra Samsa’s

unkalified muzzlenimiissilehims that would blackguardise

the whitestone. Получение пополнений баланса SPO_G

T_APK_LANCE_RESUL, she livars, Tyro, Alcmene,

freer now, ascending e i cavalieri, on phonemes. Occultic

kelim cwre÷w: choœreoœ, choœroœ, accented with silicone

caulk, are hacking stealths. Creatio ex deo is a osier

code. Zakhor, in its dactyls as parallax errors, flogs malware

with click fraud, hacking The Western Canon. Autopsy bots

spline the mūmiya in our deus ex machina posts, exLUHN 

Gonzago’s Murder. Their vulva’s slit, emboss for idouble

            clotures, this χώρα, 48e4’s triton genos as subjectile

or hiccubat edilis. Is tout autre, not a haecceitas that gewgaws

jollified, es gibt, X509v3 extensions. Vault7 series, sha1With

RSAEncryption. Run Angelfire implants, then Actæon, font

fatalist, is l’invention de l’autre, counts as phylactery.

Thetica’s sundyechosies is frenular delta, burns heterocosms.   

—Daniel Y. Harris

*from The Tryst of Thetica Zorg (BlazeVOX, 2018). p. 19

K: The xperimental ethos of my work is a hybrid of post-Language and advanced, high minimalism: a multifarious post-narrative strain to achieve a new aesthetic augmented by digital bricolage and algorithmic assemblage, inventing the grammaton. I meld the impasse of a posthuman poetics with an orthodox spirit. No grammaton cleaves to a single narrative account but rather to an infinite array of variables, memed and burrowed from matrices comprised of gematria, the fibonacci code, hagiography and iconography. This grammaton is fashioned from a panerotism reconciling the hyperlinks of a retromanic divine realm with a feminine sensibility. This new, digital poetics secretes a gloss from the new digital poetics as holy writ. Below is an excerpt from declivities, entitled “incise” by which an advanced, high minimalism is actualized.


onyx phallus

na tei pou le


cup anglo quetzalcoatl

saturates bravura


pleats feet


swag of balm


blue chips





erotic wit


her left



—Irene Koronas

*from declivities (BlazeVOX, 2018), P.35

E: You have identified this new form of experimental poetry with the general transition of much of arts and culture toward something known as “posthumanism”. You have also associated your work with this trend. Can you elaborate?

H: Posthumanism, as it informs both The Rapture of Eddy Daemon (BlazeVOX, 2016) and The Tryst of Thetica Zorg (BlazeVOX, 2018), in my Posthuman Series, is praxis, a shift in the humanistic paradigm and its anthropocentric Weltanschauung. Posthumanism’s epistemology is a post/meta/trans, enacted through its emergent ontology and critique of biocentrism. The xperimentalism at the center of my Posthuman Series is Posthumanism’s rhizomatic outline: dynamic, mutant, shifting. The “sonnets” of The Rapture of Eddy Daemon and the “exergues” of The Tryst of Thetica Zorg contain a dramaturgy of post-biological AIs rendered as Miraibots and DDoS viruses: Eddy Daemon, Thetica Zorg, The Imps, Gregor & Khôra Samsa, Orb Oran & Salvador Dracu and Maximillian Pissante &   Sophia Latrinus.

Each posthuman protagonist breaks away from hegemonic essentialism by augmenting traditional narrative forms with cybernetics, genomics, neural interfaces, algorithmics, molecular nanotechnology (MNT), whole brain emulation (WBE), IMs (instant messaging), IRCs (internet relay chat) and (MMORPGs) massively multiplayer online role-playing games. The era of the anthropocene with its complex cartography goes viral.

            In *“Exergue I” of The Tryst of Thetica Zorg, Thetica Zorg has hybridized her/his “Godbot” digital torso with a DDoS virus, partially scripted as “echo ipconfig/release_all>>c:windowswimn32.bat.” Thetica Zorg performs autofellatio and “The Imps are born by remote homo ludens” (both the book, Homo Ludens, Huizinga, 1938 as well as inborn play) “and CνB decoupled” (a cosmic neutrino background at a temperature of roughly 1.95 K.), thus “in redshifts.” Finally, “in thresh interfaces” internet “files are cast” as “WIN-BUGS FIX.EXE” and the virus inseminates the Western Canon of Literature. (WinBUGS are the successor to BUGS, the first program to perform Bayesian analysis of complex models using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, and provided access to the functions of BUGS through a Windows interface.) Transversal alliances between human and posthuman agents are cast.

*“Exergue I,” The Tryst of Thetica Zorg, Lines: 6-9

The Imps are born by remote homo ludens and CνB decoupled

in redshifts, tugged by mashup deities or stellae. From a bezier

curve, captured nodes in illo tempore and omega centauri, .vbs

files are cast as WIN-BUGS FIX.EXE* in thresh interfaces.

The “Zorg” protagonists are glossolalists, syphoning their lexicon from English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Russian and the computer programming languages, HTML, BASIC, C, C++, COBOL and Java. Mixed with this Posthuman Migdal Bāēl are enumerative and extremal combinatorics, optical physics and thermal dynamics, all melded in a bricolage of the kabbalistic concepts of notarikon (letter combinations), gematria (assigning numerical values to letters) and temurah (sentence and word rearrangements.) “Exergue I” of The Tryst of Thetica Zorg, concludes with lines 23-27, a posthuman network interface burning “heterocosms.”   

                     Is tout autre, not a haecceitas that gewgaws

jollified, es gibt, X509v3 extensions. Vault7 series, sha1With

RSAEncryption. Run Angelfire implants, then Actæon, font

fatalist, is l’invention de l’autre, counts as phylactery.

Thetica’s sundyechosies is frenular delta, burns heterocosms.

E: What kind of reception have you received for this project, not just among poets and humanities scholars, but also from those who might have an interest in it from the “geek world”?

H: Our project, Xperimentalism, as manifested by X-Peri, The Post Human & Grammaton Series, as well as through our individual collections, have received the highest critical acclaim, critical reviews and support from renowned poets and humanities scholars. We have yet to procure interest from the “geek world,” but with events such as Electracy And The New Digital Poetics–Conversations/Interventions in Denver, Colorado in October, 2018, we envision attracting a brand new audience that may include those highly coveted “geeks.”


X-Peri authors are some of the most renowned experimentalists of the era and include: Andrei Codrescu, Andrew Joron, Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Christian Bök, Clayton Eshleman, Derek Beaulieu, Geoffrey Gatza, Heller Levinson, John Matthias, Kenneth Goldsmith, Marjorie Perloff, Pierre Joris, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Rae Armantrout, Richard Kostelanetz, Rosmarie Waldrop, Seth Abramson & Vanessa Place.    

Daniel Y. Harris’ The Posthuman Series

The Tryst of Thetica Zorg (BlazeVOX, 2018): Volume II, The Posthuman Series, has received critical acclaim from Kenneth Goldsmith & Heller Levinson, with pending critical reviews by Marjorie Perloff and Derek Beaulieu.

The Rapture of Eddy Daemon (BlazeVOX, 2016): Volume I, The Posthuman Series, has received critical acclaim from Andrei Codrescu, Daniel C. Matt, Sheila E. Murphy, Maxine Chernoff and Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, and was critically reviewed by Ricardo Nirenberg in Offcourse Literary Journal. An interview on The Rapture of Eddy Daemon and Posthumanism was conducted by Carl Raschke in  Esthesis.

Daniel Y. Harris’ Collections

 The Underworld of Lesser Degrees (NYQ Books, 2015), has received critical acclaim by Daniel Morris, Carl Raschke & Rupert M. Loydell and was critically reviewed by Ricardo Nirenberg in The Pedestal Magazine

Hyperlinks of Anxiety (Červená Barva Press, 2013), has received critical acclaim by Sander Gilman, Norman Finkelstein & Beth Benedix and was critically reviewed by Daniel Morris in The Notre Dame Review.

Irene Koronas’ The Grammaton Series

 declivities (BlazeVOX, 2018), Volume III, The Grammaton Series, has received critical acclaim from Daniel Y. Harris and was critically reviewed by Eileen Tabios in Galatea Resurrects.

ninth iota (The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2018), Volume II, The Grammaton Series, has received critical acclaim from Eileen Tabios & Rupert M. Loydell.

Codify (Editions du Cygne, 2017), Volume I, The Grammaton Series, has received critical acclaim from Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino and was critically reviewed by Eileen Tabios in Galatea Resurrects.

E: What kind of new constituencies do you surmise might be out there who haven’t yet been reached?

H: As rendered by the posthuman ethos made implicit in my description of posthumanism and xperimentalism, our new constituencies will emerge, we imagine, from academic and corporate disciplines not necessarily associated with poetics. They include: software engineers, computer scientists & and game theorists, IT specialists, hackers (white hat, black hat & grey hat), mathematicians, biologists, genomicists, physicists, chemists as well as cryptographers and economists.

Daniel Y. Harris is Editor-in-Chief of X- Perimagazine.He is the author of The Underworld of Lesser Degrees(NYQ Books, 2015), Esophagus Writ (with Rupert M. Loydell, The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2014), and Hyperlinks of Anxiety(Cervena Barva Press, 2013), Paul Celan and the Messiah’s Broken Levered Tongue; picked by The Jewish Forward as one of the 5 most important Jewish poetry books of 2010. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Irene Koronas is the Managing Editor and Co-Founder of X-Peri and C-Director of the X-Peri Series. She is the author of 9 collections of poetry and collaborative writing including ninth iota(The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, forthcoming 2017), Codify(Éditions du Cygne, forthcoming 2017), Turtle Grass (Muddy River Books, 2014) and Emily Dickinson(Propaganda Press, 2010). She is an internationally acclaimed visual and digital artist, having exhibited at various ,major galleries worldwide. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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