And for those who stand on the shores of cyberspace and wonder about the origin and shape of the texts that flow onto generated pages spaces, I recommend you dive into the source code (a right click on the poem should present the option): it’s more readable and fascinating than you might think.
When I read “Taroko Gorge,” by Nick Montfort, something about the endless scrolling through a natural landscape made me think of Gary Snyder’s masterpiece Mountains and Rivers without End, inspired largely by Chinese landscape scroll paintings.
As a longtime reader and admirer of Snyder’s poetry this mashup arises out of deep respect for both Snyder’s and Montfort’s work. This is not intended to imitate or generate lines by Snyder: merely to gestures towards his poetry. “Taroko Gary” is a path through a digital landscape, built out of Nick’s trailblazing poetry generation code and using some of Snyder’s words from “Endless Streams and Mountains” as cobbles.
The lines of this poem cascade down the screen, describing a peaceful natural scene. Its pacing is meditative, reminiscent of some Gary Snyder poems. Its rhythm is mostly iambic with abundant trochees at the beginning of lines and occasional spondees to punctuate moments in the poem. The pacing of the scrolling lines doesn’t let you stop and look away, but won’t be too demanding, and once a line scrolls past visibility it is gone: you cannot scroll up or down. Live the moment in this poem for as long as it lasts, until you reach the end or realize what’s going on… whichever comes first.