Blog Post

Thinking Machines: Call for Programmer Poets and Poems About Computers

Hi All, 

In relation to all the great discussion on code, and the fabulous interdisciplinary community of scholars/scientists/artists, I wanted to post this call for submissions! Seeking poems about computers, and by programmer poets! Ran into friend and fellow Kundiman poet Neil Aitken at the recent AWP conference last week! We were on a Asian American poetry and Kundiman panel together! As a poet, scholar, and programmer, Neil is charting new directions in poetics, technology, and the humanities--bridging the divide of Art/Science. Good amazing stuff! :) 

One of the highlights at AWP was hearing Neil read poems from his second book manuscript on Babbage! As a doctoral student at USC in English Creative Writing, and previous training in math and sciences, with professional experience as a computer programmer, Im truly excited for Neil's forthcoming second collection of poems, and this exciting anthology! 

Please see below for more information on Neil, and submission info! I hope you may submit and forward to those it may be of interest!  


Thinking Machines: An Anthology of Programmer Poets & Poems about Computers is currently seeking the following:

  1. poems by programmer poets (eg. poets who write code and/or have studied computer science). 
    NOTE The poems themselves need not be explicitly about programming, computers, or 
               programmer culture. This section archives poetry 
    by programmer poets.
  2. poems about computers or programming (which can extend to artificial intelligence, digital technologies, or programmer culture and work experience). 
    NOTE These poems are about the computer as subject or object of interest.

Although the first category is limited to poets with a programming background, the second category is open to any poet who has work which fits the call. This second category can also include poems which:

  • significantly draw on film or literary representations of computers (think Jean Luc Godard'sAlphaville, Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc)
  • invoke the formal conventions of code or pseudocode in a literary fashion (conditional statements, recursion, etc)
  • are centered on some aspect of the history of programming and/or computers (Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, Alan Turing are all fair game)
  • in some other way engage or explore the role of computers and programming in our contemporary world (in other words, if you think it fits, but aren't certain try us)
Send 3-5 poems to


About Neil: 

Neil Aitken is the author of The Lost Country of Sight (Anhinga 2008), winner of the 2007 Philip Levine Prize, and the founding editor of Boxcar Poetry Review. Prior to pursuing graduate work in creative writing and literature, he completed an undergraduate degree in computer science minoring in mathematics and worked for several years as a computer games programmer for Knowledge Adventure, then a division of Vivendi Universal Games. He presently lives in Los Angeles and is working on a PhD dissertation examining the figure of the machine in Victorian literature. You can find him online at


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