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"Many artists seek to attain immortality through their art, but few would expect their work to outlast the human race and live on for billions of years. As Canadian poet Christian Bok has realized, it all comes down to the durability of your materials."--"The Guardian"Internationally best-sellling poet Christian Bok has spent more than ten years writing what promises to be the first example of "living poetry." After successfully demonstrating his concept in a colony of "E. coli," Bok is on the verge of enciphering a beautiful, anomalous poem into the genome of an unkillable bacterium ("Deinococcus radiodurans"), which can, in turn, "read" his text, responding to it by manufacturing a viable, benign protein, whose sequence of amino acids enciphers yet another poem. The engineered organism might conceivably serve as a post-apocalyptic archive, capable of outlasting our civilization.Book I of "The Xenotext "constitutes a kind of "demonic grimoire," providing a scientific framework for the project with a series of poems, texts, and illustrations. A Virgilian welcome to the Inferno, Book I is the "orphic" volume in a diptych, addressing the pastoral heritage of poets, who have sought to supplant nature in both beauty and terror. The book sets the conceptual groundwork for the second volume, which will document the experiment itself. "The Xenotext "is experimental poetry in the truest sense of the term.Christian Bok is the author of "Crystallography "(1994) and "Eunoia "(2001), which won the Griffin Poetry Prize. Bok teaches at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada., Internationally best-sellling poet Christian Bök has spent more than ten years writing what promises to be the first example of 'living poetry.' After successfully demonstrating his concept in a colony of E. coli, Bök is on the verge of enciphering a beautiful, anomalous poem into the genome of an unkillable bacterium (Deinococcus radiodurans), which can, in turn, "read" his text, responding to it bymanufacturing a viable, benign protein, whose sequence of amino acids enciphers yet another poem. The engineered organism might conceivably serve as a post-apocalyptic archive, capable of outlasting our civilization. Book I of The Xenotext constitutes a kind of 'demonic grimoire,' providing a scientific framework for the project with a series of poems, texts, and illustrations. A Virgilian welcome to the Inferno, Book I is the "orphic" volume in a diptych,addressing the pastoral heritage of poets, who have sought to supplant nature in both beauty and terror. The book sets the conceptual groundwork for the second volume, which will document the experiment itself. The Xenotext is experimental poetry in the truest sense of the term. 'Many artists seek to attain immortality through their art, but few would expect their work to outlast the human race and live on for billions of years. As Canadian poet ChristianBök has realized, it all comes down to the durability of your materials.' -- The Guardian Â, The first work of 'living poetry' in the world, by the author of the bestselling book Eunoia Shortlisted for the 2016 Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry (Alberta Literary Awards) Internationally renowned poet Christian Bök has encoded a poem (called 'Orpheus') into the genome of a germ so that, in reply, the cell builds a protein that encodesyet another poem (called 'Eurydice'). After having illustrated this idea in E. coli, Bök is planning to insert his poem into a deathless bacterium (D. radiodurans), thereby writing a text able to outlive every apocalypse, enduring till the Sun itself expires. Book 1 of The Xenotext is an 'infernal grimoire' that introduces readers to the conceptual groundwork for this project. The book offers a primer in genetics, even as it revisits the pastoral heritage of poetry, updating the orphic idylls of Virgil for a new age of mythic danger - be it in the beauty of artful biogenesis, if not in the terror of global extinction. 'The cellular "rules" that govern this extraordinary text allow Bök to create one of the most beautiful poems of our time - a poem in which the georgics of Virgil join forces with the double helix of Watson and Crick.' - Marjorie Perloff 'If Human reverence was slanted more toward Nature and less toward the exaltation of gods, our scriptures might have looked something like The Xenotext .' - Peter Watts 'Many artists seek to attain immortality through their art, but few would expect their work to outlast the human race and live on for billions of years. As Canadian poet Christian Bök has realized, it all comes down to the durability of your materials.' - The Guardian


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