How Christian Bök made a bacterium write poetry to him
Watch our animated explanation of how it works — and how it could outlive us all
Poet Christian Bök (pronounced "book") has been writing poetry for years. In 2001, his book Eunoia won the Griffin Poetry Prize for best new collection by a living Canadian. And he's always been a conceptual poet, thinking about poetry in terms that range from Lego to the Rubik's Cube to radically new invented languages.
But with The Xenotext, Bök has taken poetry a step further — he's found a way to make a bacterium, E. coli, talk back to him.
In this segment, which artist Carolyn Tripp (an Exhibitionist in Residence alum) has animated, Bök explains his meticulous process to CBC Arts, and why Bök's process may be the only way that our words will still exist, in a billion years.
Watch Exhibitionists Sundays at 4:30pm (5 NT) on CBC.