For the second year in a row, I’m very excited to put together an anthology of chess poems as a product of my guest lecture in Dr. Jason Boyd’s “Narrative in a Digital Age” course. The students were asked to play a game against the ChessBard or each other, then write a response to their interaction based around questions of authorship and translation. After nearly two years with the project, I still find the poems strange and surprising but the joy of this particular anthology is the thoughtful and generous student responses. Some, like Alexandria McLean took on the game aspect of it, exploring how deeply video games have worked into our culture of storytelling; others, like Sarah Amormino, struggled with the authorship behind the application and the poems, explaining that “to write collaboratively with a computer is like swimming in a pond without being able to see anything under you,” while Griffin Toplitsky worried about coming across as “computerist” by claiming authorship of the poems; others described it as too random and disconnected, like Josh Beneteau, who described the ChessBard as an interesting digital literature project but ultimately reaffirmed the need for humans in the writing process and thus positively underling his choice as a journalism major. Please read through each of poems and the responses – they are wonderful and well worth the time.
This anthology also marks another year of exciting events involving the ChessBard. I went to Bergen, Norway as part of the Electronic Literature Festival (http://elo2015.h.uib.no/index.html) and was thrilled to have 2 time U.S. Women’s Champion Jennifer Shahade come to Ryerson and play a blindfold exhibition that was then translated into poems (http://chesspoetry.com/playingwriting/jennifer-shahade-the-chessbard-a-blindfold-exhibition/). Jody and I both are hoping to continue hosting responses on the website (http://chesspoetry.com/playingwriting/) and continuing to keep the ChessBard going forward!
Co-creator of The ChessBard
DOWNLOAD: ChessBard f2015 ENG 921