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This year‘s Special Code Poetry Spirit award goes to... Akihiro Kubota for his "Radom Rain" poem!

The poem stands out from every other poem of 2019 by its powerful triple artistic impact it makes on a code poetry reader: it is stubbornly true to a Japanese cultural tradition; it continues the very language brought to this world by the genius of Niikuni Seiichi; and it adds those new (modern) qualities to the poetry that the poets of the 20th century did not have or did not dare to use - namely the machine-and-human readable, self-executive form of expression that blends a purely human phenomenon (poem) with a purely electronic form (programming instructions).

It takes a while to grasp the full extent of Akihiro Kubota‘s work. First, a reader starts by learning Niikuni Seiichi and his legacy, and maybe should spend some time embracing his "Rain" from 1966. Then you are ready for Akihiro‘s source code version (written in esoteric stack-based language Befunge - go google it). The dots start to connect when you suddenly realize Akihiro‘s code poem also lives outside the human imagination – as the small raindrops start jumping all around the static avant-garde poem text... And immediately the rain, the legacy of Niikuni Seiichi, the code - whatever, your head just gets overwhelmed for a while.

This is exactly what the Source Code Poetry is all about. Step out from what you think you know. Blend technology and art in a way that nobody has tried before. Use your technological skills for crafting something so unique that will impact readers’ heads and leave them in awe.

This is the very spirit of the Source Code Poetry.

About the poet

Currently Akihiro Kubota teaches new media art at an art university in Tokyo. In the last 20 years he has been trying various approaches to intersect science and engineering with humanities.

“The Source Code Poetry challenge, writing poems in code is the best example of such an intersection. It can be positioned as an executable poetry following the movement of concrete poetry (as post-concrete poetry).

Seiichi Niikuni (1925 – 1977) was a Japanese poet who was one of the foremost pioneers of the avant-garde concrete poetry movement. That's why I decided to rewrite his most famous concrete poem in visual 2-dimensional esoteric programming language, Befunge.

What is the poetry that can be executed? I keep speculating about it", - says Special Code Poetry Spirit award winner Akihiro Kubota.

Poem by Akihiro Kubota

- Nida, describe yourself as a person.

I am an Engineer turned entrepreneur who also writes from Bangalore, India. I love poetry, I am intrigued by amalgamation of art forms and extremely passionate about empowering women in technology.

- Why did you participate in Source Code Poetry?

Source Code Poetry is an amalgamation of two of my worlds - poetry and coding. I wanted to experiment with a new style of writing. I was very fascinated with the whole concept and my hand kept itching to try it out.

- How and when did you decide you want to start coding? What programming language do you like most?

I was introduced to coding in primary school( first grade) possibly at the same time I was introduced to poetry. Coding allowed me to structure my thoughts, solve problems and write solutions. I was extremely fascinated by the syntax and the commands and familiarity with the spoken tongue. I am extremely fond of Java and Python, primarily because I have worked with the languages for a great length.

- What would you like to learn in the future?

I would love to explore Ruby and Golang.

- Would you consider code poetry a form of art? Why?

Yes of course. Coding is an extension of the machine vocabulary, though restricted in the form on syntaxes but offers a big canvas to explore creativity. I think we are just starting to understand code poetry as an art form.

Poem by Nida Sahar

- Karolis, describe yourself as a person.

This year I will become a second year CS student in Kaunas University of Technology. In general I am a self-taught programmer who just likes to challenge himself and discover new thins in order to self-improve. As I mentioned, currently I am trying out game development and might work on a small project throughout the year.

- Why did you participate in Source Code Poetry?

Back in 2018 I decided to participate in Source Code Poetry as I wanted to try out something new. The idea seemed bizarre to me and I wanted to challenge myself as that it is what I usually do.

- How and when did you decide you want to start coding?

I decided to start coding back in the sixth grade when our IT teacher offered us to program as an after-school activity. Let me tell you, I was absolutely terrible at first. Didn't even understand how a "for loop" worked. But throughout time I've become what I am today.

- What programming language do you like most?

My favorite programming language would probably be C++. Most people mock it for it's syntax and lack of garbage collection but as Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++, wrote in his books - a lot of that can be avoided by using the built-in STL and RAII.

- What would you like to learn in the future?

In the future I'd like to learn more about AI and game engines as I have been working with Unreal Engine 4 over the past few months.

- Would you consider code poetry a form of art? Why?

I do consider code poetry a form of art. Art can take any shape or form wherever and whenever it desires. Poetry in general has different "types". Consider the "found" type. It is composed from already existing text. Programming languages have many different keywords (and other constructs, depending on what language you write in) that we use to write code poetry. So code poetry could be considered a type of found poetry.

Poem by Karolis Balčiūnas

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