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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter characterizes recent developments in improvisation in contemporary experimental poetry. It traces the evolution of improvised poetry from the work of classic improvisers such as David Antin, Steve Benson, and Bob Cobbing to the present day. It argues that poetic improvisation has been marginalized not only within poetic practice but also within theories of poetic performance. It traces the development of poetic improvisation as “new sonic writing” into computerized modes of improvisation, particularly algorithmic text generation. It discusses the impact of social changes, such as increased gender equality, globalization, and transnationalism, on the evolution of poetic improvisation, which has become increasingly populated by women and also more ethnically diverse. It formulates the concept of a “posthuman cosmopolitanism” with regard to computerized improvisation.

Keywords: improvisation, performance, new sonic writing, algorithmic text generation, posthuman cosmopolitanism

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