Individual Work
Pillage Laud

Pillage Laud is a unique example of using technology to intervene in more traditional modes of poetic composition. In this book of poetry, as the introductory note tells us, Moure as zombie author “selects from pages of computer-generated sentences to produce lesbian sex poems, by pulling through certain found vocabularies.” The jacket blurb of Book*hug’s 2011 reprint details the particularities of its production; it uses “MacProse, freeware designed by American poet Charles O. Hartman as a generator of random sentences based on syntax and lexicon internal to the program.” Using MacProse as a part of the authorship of her work, Moure situates herself in a tradition of computer-generated poetry that has a long-standing and rich history in Canada and the United States. This history includes Hartman, who wrote the MacProse program (now available through Hartman’s website as PyProse), and whose memoir/critical study, Virtual Muse, details the radical potentials of computer-generated poetry. Before Hartman, writers like John Cage and Jackson Mac Low were also doing similar experiments with the computer-generation of poems from source texts and this kind of generative work has continued through digital poetries of all kinds, especially poetry-bots and poetry generators like Nick Montfort’s “Taroko Gorge” and the many variations of it that followed. Part of what Moure shares with this history of indeterminate and computer-generated texts is that many of these works, like Mac Low’s or Montfort’s, retain (more or less) the traditional structures of language (grammar, syntax, spelling) while disrupting others (meaning, sense, logic). While the retention of traditional syntactical structures has led some readers to argue that Pillage Laud reifies language rather than interrogating it, I argue that Moure infects language with the “virus” of zombie authorship in order to expose it as constructed.