Glazier, Loss. "Io Sono At Swoons." New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories. Eds. Adalaide Morris and Thomas Swiss. Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2006. 210-216. Print.

Loss Glazier writes this article in response to his poem. He gives an introduction, talks about the writing language as well as writing his poem, and finally he talks about writing the words. In "Io Sono At Swoons," Glazier composes a poem-program that generates a new poem every forty seconds. Therefore, the reading experience is never the same twice. The content of this poem-program is basically fragments of words selected from different languages, “including medical terminology related to the brain” (211). These multilingual lexical selections, Glazier notes, “are crafted as components of the meaning of the poem,” which “serves as a sound poetry script for performance” more than just for individual quiet reading (211). “Io Sono” is an Italian phrase for “I am” and the phrase “At Swoons” refers to a medical condition of faintness. As such, the title of the poem suggests an identity crisis or “dynamics,” as Glaziers puts it, when the reader finds himself or herself in the midst of all of the various languages that represent different identities.

Glazier talks briefly about the power of languages as represented in the poem. He mentions how the power of human languages sometimes function as a cure for trauma patients. He gives an example of how memories of trauma can physically shift sides in the brain when languages are used as a healing instruments. He then stresses on the power of the computer language as well. He writes: “Through a computer language, a poet can make art. A poem-program offers the possibility of exploring how through language that makes art, art makes new language” (213). Finally, he compares the language of the computer to the “ecosystem of natural language” (213). He explains that once “sound crosses over; words migrate, form new conjunctions; phrases linger, last forever” (213). In addition, human languages are interestingly distinctive from one another, in the spirituality and the expressiveness they carry from one to the other.

As a poem that aesthetically uses words from 11 languages and sounds from 3 more, "Io Sono At Swoons" is truly a unique work. The credit of the uniqueness of this work cannot only be attributed to the human languages, but to the computer language as well. The layouts of the texts that refresh every forty seconds in the poem are not in a fixed order; they’re always changing. The code of the computer is the author of the new texts that generate every time. Glazier emphasizes that the language of the computer is the responsible author of creating the “complementary aesthetics complexity” of the poem (214). Therefore, Glazier declares that the poem “produces its surface text weather the author is there or not” (214). He even mentions that at first, this shifting authorship caused him to “panic,” but later, he became “fascinated with the poem’s endless ability to produce ‘my’ poem” (214).

“One can only imagine all the poems produced through the night, never to be seen by anyone, pure products of poetry” (214).

Glazier discusses how the poem-program model eliminates “the illusion of art as fixed” (214). He explains that this poem-program is not a Photoshop or PDF or even a witty animated work, but rather “a poetics of finding the core conceptual thread—that calm abiding center that endures behind the constantly shifting surface of any work, any interpretation, and context. It is about code that is real as code” (214).
"Io Sono At Swoons" is an example of hearing the matrix or hearing the language of the code. Establishing the right connection or means with the computer, one can finally listens to its language. Glazier provides the proper code to the computer and enables it to forms its own logic and meaning. The content of the poem is foreign to all of us, no doubt, and therefore, trying to identify with such words for their original meanings will bring a lot of frustration. However, observing how the computer structures them and listening to the sounds or the echoes of these words and trying to relate what we hear to our own languages and our own identities is perhaps the only way to enjoy and identify with this poem. We may even become able to form a meaning.

Extra Fun
Programming like this is similar to the way I used to stay up late with my mother separating pinto beans, one bean after another. The sound of their sliding across the surface of the table to plunk into a metal pot will stay with me forever. After a while the pot of beans had more to do with the rhythm of sorting the beans than with nutritional value. (216)

“Like the monk with his beads, it is one line of code after another, all in the present moment” (216).


Can we form a meaning out of randomness? How is this idea manifested in this poem?
Glazier alluded to the ability of the computer language to transcend poetry, do you see it or feel it in the poem? How?
What do you make of Glazier’s little anecdote? Which is more aesthetic, the form or the content?