Stanford students have merged the logic of computer code with the beauty of the spoken word at what may have been the world’s first code poetry slam.
Code poems are written in or about a computer programming language. Code poets have been uploading their works to websites such as PerlMonks since the mid-2000s.
The organizers of the recent Stanford event wanted to try something new: they wanted coders to perform their poetry live.
“Humanists don’t usually overlap with computer scientists,” said Melissa Kagen, an event coordinator and a doctoral candidate in German studies at Stanford.
She and three other coordinators designed the slam to bring together the usually distinct disciplines of performance and programming.
Judges selected eight finalists, including six Stanford students and two others, from a pool of online submissions and invited them to present their code poems in front of an intimate audience in Wallenberg Hall on Nov. 20. The event was sponsored by Stanford’s Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.