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Happy Birthday, Pixel

Over at GTxA, Nick provides a link and some commentary on Wired's publication of Robert Pinsky's poem in honor of the 50th anniversary of the pixel. It's called...umm..."Pixel." Nick notes:

The philosopher of the poem, discussing the artists role and the engineers, is Rudolf Arnheim, author of Film as Art and one of the first to argue that film has an artistic dimension. By analogy to the arts of film and tapestry, Pinsky makes the poetic case that videogames are art, too, just as he argued that the experience of computing is truly material in "The Haunted Ruin."

Nick also notes the passing of Czeslaw Milosz, whose work Pinsky helped to translate into English.

What you don't know about Pinsky is that I had the chance to "interview" him. I put that word in quotes because, although I was there and I did the transcription, the interview was largely a conversation between Pinsky and a professor of mine at the time. I was in no position to ask the right questions. But I've carried with me ever since the image of Pinsky as someone who cared deeply about language, a care I was familiar with from reading Irish poets like Seamus Heaney, but also one that I didn't think existed in contemporary American literature. Obviously, I was wrong, but at the time, both his reading and that conversation changed both my attitudes towards American poets and towards poetry in general, which I stopped fearing after that.

I also remember him telling stories about having studied with Yvor Winters, and one of the things I took from that was the importance of tradition, even when one hopes to break from it, transform it, or reject it altogether. Oh, and I also took from the experience the fact that I will never ever ever again do something that results in transcription. Talk about a pain. Anyhow...

So pixel plural and singular knits fixed vision
To pics in flux: either a seeming motion

Or the seeming stillness of a billion dancing dots
Choreographed like the tapestry's grid of knots

Dyed rose, blue, green in a map of subtle shades


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Collin vs. Blog points to Robert Pinky's poem celebrating the 50th birthday of the pixel. In part, For all they're worth in 10,000 little knots:Visible up close as a grid of squarish clots Where anti-alias threads smooth out the forms;Visible from afar... [Read More]