poetry matrix

YEAR: 2012, 2021 (expansion)

ROLE: Designer

The Poetry Matrix arose out of a desire to write an "exhaustible poem." A reader engaging in such a poem would cross words off across columns to create lines and stanzas. The Matrix is the result of an exploration into the sorts of combinations that can be produced when words are repeatedly reused.


While the initial purpose of the Matrix was to investigate the iterative possibilities of a limited wordbank, its real worth proved to be in its interactive potential and value as a brainstorming exercise. 


Co-developed with Patrick Mulroy.



Patrick Mulroyと一緒に詩のマトリックスを作った。


example Poetry Matrix with directions and result

The above example is the original formulation of the matrix, but the general structure is amenable to variation and derivation. Most simply, the grid can be contracted or expanded to create poems of differing sizes. Multiple grids can be compounded and assigned rules of interaction to yield ever more complex emergent poetry.



examples of other possible Matrix configurations

The protocol for this expanded version is as follows:

1. Create an arbitrary number of rectangular grids that are connected by at least one corner.

2. Create "line arrows" showing the directions in which words are to be assembled into lines.

3. Number the arrows of each distinct grid to establish final line order. Start again at 1 for each distinct grid.

4. Treating each distinct grid as a stanza, complete the Matrix as per the conventional method.

The different structures of Japanese and English make a Japanese version more complicated, but it is not impossible. I propose allowing any sort of particle as an option in lieu of punctuation. A native Japanese speaker may find that this is not necessary, but it is an option that will make the process a bit smoother.