Introduction: I took the course “Literature & New Technologies” in high school, which explored the ways in which new technologies—especially the typewriter and computer—influenced authors and poets of the time. One of the poets that I studied, e. e. cummings, was unique in his poetic style; he would fill the blank space of his page with interestingly spaced-out letters, words, punctuation, and phrases. Many of his poems were also concerned with modernism and futurism: what the growing world was looking like and how art would develop along with it. For this assignment, I decided to ask ChatGPT to imagine e. e. cummings’ style in the future; whereas the poet’s voice was shaped by the technology of the typewriter, some future poets might be inspired by the writing inventions in this future.
Prompt: Generate a poem written in the future about a utopian society in which technology has positively influenced art, literature, and culture in the style of e. e. cummings. Include idiosyncratic syntax throughout that would mimic how a poem would be written with advanced writing technology.
a world of tomorrow, (not yesteryear’s sorrow) where wires hum with (electric) delight a utopian canvas, (brighter than starlight) where art takes flight, (in the cybernetic night)
we weave (infinite) tales, (in the digital aether) with words un(like) any (you’ve ever seen) splattering colors, (across the screen) our literature’s canvas, (an endless dream)
poets, they dance, (with algorithms in hand) (composing) verses, (as code) we command parentheses (enclose) (the ideas) so grand while spaced-out words, (across landscapes) expand
culture, it thrives, (in the bytes) and the bits melding tradition, (with silicon) and wits our voices (united), (no need to) submit to the past’s rigid (structures) and fits
(of a future) we channel with technology’s aid, (our minds) unshackle in this utopian world, (a poet’s) chapel where creativity (in endless) circles (resides)
so come join the dance, (in this digital) sphere where art, literature, (and culture) are clear the future of expression, (there’s nothing to fear) in this utopian society, (we hold dear).
As a bonus, I asked ChatGPT to re-generate the poem using Unicode art:
The poem demonstrates an artifact of this imagined world that can be studied between both categories of representation and identity within the Circuit of Culture. As a piece of literature, the poem’s form and content can reveal much about the relationship between technology and culture that have developed in this new world and society. For instance, the lines “poets, they dance, (with algorithms in hand) (composing) verses, / (as code) we command parentheses (enclose) (the ideas) so grand while spaced-out words, (across landscapes) expand” uses syntax and punctuation to reflect the integration of algorithms and code to express “grand” and expansive ideas. The Unicode art version, too, uses unique mediums to express the same ideas, just as how future technologies might provide new avenues for artists to gain inspiration from or channel their ideas creatively.
Furthermore, we may examine the poem through the lens of identity. Many of the lines reference group and individual identities, particularly in the context of artistic identities. The last couplet is interesting to explore—”so come join the dance, (in this digital) sphere where art, literature, (and culture) are clear the future of expression, (there’s nothing to fear) in this utopian society, (we hold dear).” ChatGPT uses the two ideas of technology and art through the language of the lines; the word “digital” is within the parenthesis, while “dance,” “art,” and “literature” are outside. Finally, though the poem doesn’t adhere to any strict rhyme scheme, the last words of the final two parentheses, “fear” and “dear” do rhyme; perhaps this signifies that even in a futuristic world, art and culture are still the product of countless generations of traditions, ideas, and artistry. Just as the traditional rhyme scheme is referenced, the entire poem is based on e. e. cummings’ innovative style and grasp of language, to express the idea that art and literature will continue to challenge convention and reflect the human condition far into the future.