Code Isn’t Just Functional, It’s Poetic
Poetry is considered a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities. It contains multiple interpretations and therefore resonates differently in each reader.Code is the language used to communicate with computers. It has its own rules (syntax) and meaning (semantics). Like literature writers or poets, coders also have their own style that include – strategies for optimizing the code being read by a computer, and facilitating its understanding through visual organization and comments for other coders.
Code can speak literature, logic, mathematics. It contains different layers of abstraction and it links them to the physical world of processors and memory chips. All these resources can contribute in expanding the boundaries of contemporary poetry by using code as a new language. Code to speak about life or death, love or hate. Code meant to be read, not just run.Writing code certainly feels very similar to writing poetry. When I’m writing poetry, it feels like the center of my thinking is in a particular place, and when I’m writing code the center of my thinking feels in the same kind of place. It’s the same kind of concentration. Programming also gives me this amazing power to build my whole little universe with its own rules and paradigms and practices.
Now, let’s move on to WordPress. Most of us have heard of WordPress. It is one of the largest blogging platforms in the world. It gives aspiring writers a stage to showcase their work. An internet connection is all that is required. The basic plan is free and you can get started in a matter of minutes.But this is not an article about WordPress after all, so what’s of essence here is it’s famous tagline: “Code is poetry.”Ah, the famous tagline of WordPress. What does this mean? Does it refer to the fact that now bloggers, who write poetry, can easily “code” using WordPress? Or does it suggest that coding is an art form, just like poetry?
It is true that this tagline was coined by WordPress. And it is true that most bloggers use WordPress for their blogging needs. It is also true that many bloggers are poets. And so this tagline that WordPress has come up with is, on the surface, appropriate.However, I would suggest that this unpacking of the metaphor is a superficial one. You have to dig deeper.So I am inclined to the second interpretation. The fact that poets can write poems in WordPress is just a happy coincidence. And it reminds me of a strange loop. What if code is poetry, and this poetry enables poets to create their poems? That’s a brain bender, isn’t it?
Let’s delve deeper and talk about the ways in which code ‘IS’ poetry.From the definition of poetry that I started this article with, we can say that poetry is basically a form of writing that uses the beauty of language to stir up feelings. You are fully engaged when reading a poem because it has several layers of meaning.
So, what about computer coding or programming? Programming is a way in which we communicate with computers. It can be called as a rhythmical composition that creates pleasurable and expressive results through imaginative/elevated logic. And I would presume most programmers who program for the love of it and as their passion would agree with me that there is no bigger annoyance than getting your concentration broken when you’re fully engaged in coding a program. In other words, the art of writing code and the art of good poetry are, in a sense, the same thing. But if this is all the case, then this article would conclude quite abruptly. So I suggest that we dig even deeper. All the way down to the structural level.
How many of you have heard of indentation? Well, indentation plays an important role in both poetry and coding.The roles may be different at times. In poetry, indentation makes the poem easy on the eye, while also conveying meaning. As for coding, well, I don’t need to tell you guys why indentation is important! Not only does it make your code readable; in languages like Python, indentation conveys “meaning.”In a well-written poem, every word has a definite meaning and purpose. Even down to the punctuation. And we all know (atleast all my CS mates) what happens if you miss out a single semi-colon when programming in a language like C++.The importance of structure in coding and poetry cannot be over-emphasized. However, the similarities seem to run very deep. So deep in fact, that I couldn’t help thinking: what if “code is poetry” is not a metaphor at all? That is, code really is a form of poetry, and programmers are the new poets? If you think about this for a while, you realize that this is absurd. In that sense, everything is poetry! It’s just as silly as saying music is math or math is poetry or whatever. But truth be told, I believe programming is an art. But isn’t poetry an art form too? Does this mean that they are essentially the same?
But what if we could blur the lines between metaphor and reality? What if one writes code in the form of a poem? Literally code poetry? Is that possible? Well, see for yourself: Well, some of you might have a hard time understanding this(and well it’s not really an easy task to code in poetic rhythm) but these are examples that it can be done nonetheless.But in a true sense, poetic, beautiful, and artistic code would be that which would be readable, understandable, efficient, clean and without unnecessary additions. It truly is hard to write this kind of code for the huge programs that have to be built and this truly proves how much effort it takes.But what if you could write a program to compose poetry? A computer writing human-like poetry. Well, that seems like a dream right? Well, it’s not. Artificial intelligence has reached a level where this can be done and has been done. And the Ted Talk where I got the idea to research and write this article was also given by the man who has done it, Mr. Oscar Schwartz.
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Poetry is considered a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities. It contains multiple interpretations and therefore resonates differently in each reader.Code […]