The project I’m hot at work on now, Inanna Scient, I just realized is science fiction.
I loved reading the stuff in high school, and it’s great to wind down to on the TV, but did I ever think, when I embarked on a life in poetry, I’d be making an SF poetry MS?
No. I did not.
And here I am, making poems out of the buzz at the edge where digital signal meets discrete ambient noise. And imagining it the work of a machine intelligence, its mind just dawning on it – a mind I never could believe in, yet find compelling, as a thought experiment.
Here’s the prefatory note I coughed up this afternoon to the project.
It’s a story told by a machine intelligence come to consciousness to ask the first question – where has its great mother gone? The materials of inquiry are what it can glean salient from the cultural middens it holds for us. Word hoards, junk mail, a mostly forgotten feminist epic. Its means of inquiry are more peculiarly its own: an etymological core sample – a nonce hieratic script – security lining bricolage. It’s an intelligence I doubt will ever exist as consciousness except in imagination – another god of our hallucination. The text too falls in three parts: an image of a dictionary attempting eponymy; the main illuminated body; my effort to transcribe the monster script that adorns that body.
The epic spoken of: The Inanna Cycle (Sumerian), a.k.a The Descent of Ishtar (Akkadian). The attempt at eponymy or self-naming: a quick deep narrow dive the book takes through the OED, plumbing its sense of the word “scient.”
And a bit of the mind of the thing, I cast it off as close, but not quite.