‘Here is a verbal contraption. How does it work?’ – W.H.Auden
‘A poem is a small (or large) machine made out of words.’ – William Carlos Williams
We invite you to submit poems on the subject of the soul and the machine for Magma 55 – on any aspect of one that brings with it at least the idea of the other. We include machinery of any kind, and consciousness, a spirit, a soul or whatever else intangible may be said to come with it.
One of us is a computer scientist, the other a poet. Artificial intelligence posits human-like thinking made from software, poetry could be said to reach the soul from not only verbal machinery: from ink or pixels and from vibrations in the air. We’re both fascinated by the co-presence of these physical and immaterial properties.
Howard Nemerov’s escritoire in A Singular Metamorphosis comes alive, apparently aided and abetted by the TV; in Machines Michael Donaghy’s racing bike balances like the poise of music; Elizabeth Bishop’s toy horse has a formal, melancholy soul in Cirque D’Hiver
What will you make of these ideas? We hope you will be inspired to create diverse contraptions, including many that never occurred to us when we thought of basing Magma 55 on the soul and the machine. Off-theme poems are also welcome.
Tim Kindberg (@TimKindberg) and Karen McCarthy Woolf (@KMcCarthyWoolf), Editors, Magma 55