Programming & Poetry

Mixed graduate and undergraduate course, Stanford University, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, 2017

How can we study computer code as literature? What can poetry teach us about programming and vice versa? These types of questions drove this course, which had two different tracks: one for computer science students and one for literature students. The focus was on the development of a shared conceptual middle ground at which these two tracks can meet.


  • Critical Code Studies
  • Cognitive Literary Theory
  • Code Poetry
  • New Media Poetics
  • Distant Reading

Selected Readings

  • Croll, Angus. If Hemingway Wrote Javascript. No Starch Press: San Francisco, 2014.

  • Funkhouser, C.T. New Directions in Digital Poetry. Continuum: New York, 2012.

  • Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1980.

  • Marino, Mark C. “Critical Code Studies.” Electronic Book Review. 4 December, 2006.

  • Montfort, Nick, Patsy Baudoin, John Bell, Ian Bogost, Jeremy Douglass, Mark C. Marino, Michael Mateas, Casey Reas, Mark Sample, and Noah Vawter. 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 2012.

  • New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories Ed. Thomas Swiss. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 2006.

  • Wardrip-Fruin, Noah. Expressive Processing. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 2009.