New Book: Blanks: Word Procressing

Blanks: Word Processing is out now – the English translation of my book of poems, Halbzeug: Textverarbeitung. It was published by Counterpath Press in Nick Montfort’s Using Electricity series.

A book launch will take place on November 21 at Room & Board, Brooklyn.

You can buy the book here.

The book also got two very nice blurbs:

“How to translate the process by which a computer ‘hears’ spoken speech and interprets it into a different language? As what other creaturely forms might Gregor Samsa awaken? These are but a sample of the questions asked by Hannes Bajohr in his new book, Blanks. Collected over ten years, the poems and writing of Blanks demonstrate the breadth of lyricism available to the careful curator of machine-generated/machine-intervened literature. Using a wide variety of machine processes, Bajohr maximizes the discoveries one can make inside other texts—from the canonical Metamorphosis to the more mundane of German literotica and business manuals. More than a book of computer-generated work, this book fascinates the reader through the intimacies of translation—not just from source language to target language, but translation and re-articulation of the composition process, yielding new texts faithful to method if not word-by-word parity. From the sorting and sifting of corpora, from extraction and arrangement, Bajohr’s work excites and beautifies the growing realm of computational poetics.
—Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

“Blanks is a series of poems generated using various pre-existing source texts including some of Bajohr’s own previous work. Each poem concludes by disclosing the various “programs” used to compose it (like Python, search filters, procedures, and algorithms), but some are also additionally edited “manually” and “selectively” (i.e. libidinally) by the poet. This book presents the facility of the poem as a resource for exploring the turbulent, political terrain cleaved open by the dissolution of distinct boundaries between person and machine, writing tool(s) and text, poem and reading tool(s). Written during a historical period that saw haphazardly designed, discriminatory algorithms rapidly and radically redistribute things like labor, global economics and attention itself, Blanks hovers on the moment when invisible tools designed imperfectly reveal themselves to have been operative independent of user agency.”
—Holly Melgard