writing on
certain of my works
(by author)

Aarseth, Espen. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.

Still one of the best attempts to examine, theoretically, the effects of new delivery media on literary forms and their potential. Very good on situating Book Unbound in particular.
  “John Cayley's Book Unbound is a literary work not easily classified by traditional aesthetics... This text is an impurity, a site of struggle between medium, sign and operator. The fragments produced are clearly not authored by anyone, they are pulverized and reconnected echoes of meaning, and the meaning that can be made from them is not the meaning that once existed. Book Unbound is an extreme paragon of cyborg aesthetics, an illustration of the issue of communicative control. The pleasure of this text is far from accidental; it belongs not to the illusion of control, but to the suggestive reality of unique and unrepeatable signification.”

Andersen, Christian Ulrik, and Søren Bro Pold. The Metainterface: The Art of Platforms, Cities, and Clouds. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2018. Includes an excellent discussion of The Readers Project pp. 61-64, and How It Is in Common Tongues pp. 64-69.

"This unfolding of language and limitless networking of How It Is is a poetic and potentially sublime experience, setting the work free as text, equal to the way that Cayley describes searching as 'literary sublime' and 'an encounter with overwhelming quantities of language, arguably beautiful.' How It Is in Common Tongues makes the reader glimpse this sublime network of tongues, language, and people writing. Besides their own reading, the reader sees the global reading of the common tongues. Yet the reader also experiences how this network has become technologized, bureaucratized, and instrumentalized." (67)

Baetens, Jan. ‘Review of Grammalepsy: Essays on Digital Language Art by John Cayley.’ Leonardo 53, no. 1 (February 2020): 100-101. Print version of this embarrassingly good and informative review immediately followed by Baetens on Scott Rettberg's Electronic Literature. They were also first issued online in Leonardo Reviews (April 2019) https://www.leonardo.info/review/2019/04/review-of-grammalepsy-essays-on-digital-language-art-and-electronic-literature (accessed March 30, 2019).

Bynham, Mike, and Tong-King Lee. ‘Translanguaging in Cyberpoetics.’ Chap. 7 In Translation and Translanguaging. London: Routledge, 2019, pp. 123-150. This chapter, by Tong-King Lee, is more or less entirely about my work, and provides excellent close readings, integrated with the books theoretical concerns, of translation (2004- ) and certain of my 'microcollage translations' from Chinese. Recommended.

Cayley, John. ‘Of Programmatology: Interview with John Cayley.’ Interview by John Welch. Fourth Door Review, no. 5. (2001). 13-17.

Cheesman, Tom. ‘Review of Grammalepsy: Essays on Digital Language Art by John Cayley.’ The Modern Language Review 114, no. 1 (October 2019): 846-848. Excellent, sharp, and witty review of Grammalepsy.

Edmond, Jacob. ‘Diffracted Waves and World Literature.’ Parallax 20, no. 3 (2014): 245-257 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13534645.2014.927632 (accessed July 17, 2018). Discusses the early hypertext version that I created for Yang Lian's 'Where the Sea Stands Still'.

Edmond, Jacob. ‘The Elephant in the Room.’ Orbis Litterarum 73, no. 4 (2018): 311-327 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/oli.12182 (accessed May 16, 2018). Discusses, chiefly, my early work Golden Lion: Indra's Net IV.

Edmond, Jacob. ‘Making Waves in World Literature,’ chapter 3 in Jacob Edmond's 2019 book: Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media, pp. 91-115 (New York: Columbia University Press) Contains what must be his definitive discussion of my hypertext collaboration with Yang Lian 'Where the Sea Stands Still,' set into his over-arching argument that complicates certain "world literature" accounts of (post)modernism. Edmond also provides fine analyses of some of my earliest work with digital language art, in wine flying, and of Poundian poetic influences on my own work, Yang Lian's, and our collaboration.

Edmond, Jacob. ‘Modernist Waves: Yang Lian, John Cayley, and the Location of Global Modernism in the Digital Age.’ Chap. 12 in Chinese Poetic Modernism. Sinica Leidensia, 283-303. Leiden: Brill, 2019. Earlier discussion of the early hypertext version that I created for Yang Lian's 'Where the Sea Stands Still'.

ELMCIP Knowledge Base. ELMCIP stands for 'Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice,' a major European-funded research network that produced the field's most useful knowledge. Records in the knowledge based are well linked with relationships encoded. Articles for:
  •  John Cayley, and
  •  The Readers Project
will branch outward to many other articles with documentation of my work.

Emerson, Lori. Reading Writing I nterfaces : From the Digital to the Bookbound. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014, pp. 183-84. Discusses an outcome from The Readers Project:

"John Cayley and Daniel C. Howe's How It Is in Common Tongues is intensely concerned with drawing attention to the profound influence of Google's search engine and how it works on readingwriting practices. ... a disruptive response to the computing industry's insistent drive to create devices that are nearly invisible."

Engberg, Maria. 'Morphing Into New Modes of Writing: John Cayley's riverIsland.' Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 'New Media Poetry and Poetics' Special Issue, Vol 14, No. 5-6 (2006). [http://leoalmanac.org/journal/vol_14/lea_v14_n05-06/mengberg.asp].

_____. 'Stepping into the River: Experiencing John Cayley's riverIsland.' dichtung-digital 35 (2/2005) [http://www.dichtung-digital.de/2005/2/Engberg/index.htm].

Ensslin, Astrid. ‘Riposte to Grammalepsy: An Introduction.’ Electronic Book Review (April 11 2018) https://electronicbookreview.com/essay/riposte-to-grammalepsy-an-introduction/ (accessed March 31, 2019).

Eskelinen, Markku. Cybertext Poetics: The Critical Landscape of New Media Literary Theory. International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics. New York: Continuum, 2012.

This extraordinary, important book amounts to a theory of literary practice taking into account the potentialities of currently existing delivery media, and building on both print-based narratology and Espen Aarseth’s groundbreaking Cybertext. It discusses many of my works, particularly earlier ones: The Golden Lion, Book Unbound, The Speaking Clock, overboard, windsound, and riverisland.

Florence, Penny. ‘A Review Essay: John Cayley's the Listeners.’ Hyperrhiz 14 (2016) https://doi.org/10.20415/hyp/014.r01 (accessed January 25, 2018). Wonderful thinking on The Listeners.

"The Listeners does not shout, and neither does John Cayley. This piece is not a manifesto-driven intervention in the style of twentieth century movements. Rather it is a thoroughly considered piece of practice based research in digital language art, an interactive work culminating in a strangeness of experience that, for me, is one of the indicators of innovation. It is an interaction like no other."

Fan, Lai-Tze. 'Selective Annotated Bibliography for Further Reading.' in Tabbi, Joseph, ed. Post-Digital: Dialogues and Debates from the Electronic Book Review. 2 vols. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020, vol. 2, p. 429:

"Grammalepsy: Essays on Digital Language Art compiles some of Cayley’s best known essays over twenty Years, which come together to describe “grammalepsy”: the unique theory and practice of digital language art. Cayley explores the conditions of language, whereby the language of digital media and the digital language art that results requires thinking about the ontological relationship between language and medium that goes beyond the literary limitations of print and staticism."

Funkhouser, Chris. 'Irregular Solid: John Cayley's Cybertextually Engineered Digital Poetry - an essay.' Enter Text 5.3 (Winter 2005-2006) [for the issues table of contents: http://arts.brunel.ac.uk/gate/entertext/issue_5_3.htm; to download the document: http://arts.brunel.ac.uk/gate/entertext/5_3/ET53FunkhouserEd.doc].

Górska-Olesińska, Monika. ‘Language Art in the Age of Panophonia.’ MATLIT 6, no. 2 (2018): 87-98 https://doi.org/10.14195/2182-8830_6-2_7 (accessed March 28, 2020). Discusses The Listeners.

"Cayley’s The Listeners project demonstrates potential for practices in 'transactive synthetic language in aurality' (Cayley 2017b) and is at the cutting edge of experimental language art." (90)

Hansen, Mark. Digital Textuality. Conference on New Media, Technology and the Humanities 17-18 February, 2006. University of California, Irvine, School of Humanities, Humanitech. [http://www.humanities.uci.edu/humanitech/newmediaconference/FriPM8.mp3].

Hayles, N. Katherine. 'The Time of Digital Poetry: From Object to Event,' in Morris, Adalaide, and Thomas Swiss, eds. New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006, pp. 181-210. Discusses riverisland.

Hodge, James J. Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art. Electronic Mediations. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019. Chapter 2, 'Noise in history: reactivating the exteriority in writing' pp. 71-106 has an extensive discussion of overboard, esp. pp. 77-87.

Johnston, David Jhave. Aesthetic Animism: Digital Poetry’s Ontological Implications. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2016, pp. 111-12. "The Readers Project reflects the urgent necessity for creative authors to write the autonomous writers who will read for us. It does so formally and numinously, words drifting and vanishing in modernist cascade ..."

Marques da Silva, Ana. ‘Decoding Language [Review Essay on Grammalepsy by John Cayley].’ MATLIT 8, no. 1 (2020): 306-307 https://impactum-journals.uc.pt/matlit/article/view/2182-8830_8-1_18 (accessed October 29, 2020). Excellent review.

_____. ‘Speaking to Listening Machines: Literary Experiments with Aural Interfaces.’ Electronic Book Review (May 16 2017) https://electronicbookreview.com/essay/speaking-to-listening-machines-literary-experiments-with-aural-interfaces/ (accessed March 30, 2019). Discusses The Listeners.

_____. ‘Writing with Automated Machines: Between Translation and Sabotage.’ MATLIT 6, no. 3 (2018): 73-81 https://doi.org/10.14195/2182-8830_6-3_6 (accessed March 28, 2020). Discusses How It Is in Common Tongues in a remarkable context.

Maibaum, Johannes. The Speaking Clock: John Cayley, HyperCard Program, 1995, Medien Theorien, 2016. Video documentation, 17:09 min; silent Youtube screencast with commentary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY7NMsLGm94 (accessed August 22, 2019).

Okkema, Laura. "Harvester of Desires: Gaming Amazon Echo through John Cayley’s the Listeners." Proceedings of DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association) (2018): 1-14. http://www.digra.org/digital-library/publications/harvester-of-desires-gaming-amazon-echo-through-john-cayleys-the-listeners/.

Excellent paper on The Listeners. Abstract: “[S]mart speakers such as Amazon Echo have become popular entertainment technologies and, increasingly, game platforms in households across the globe. These systems are controlled through voice-interactive Artificial Intelligences such as Amazon’s Alexa. The present work seeks to open a conversation about voice-interactive games on smart speaker systems in game studies. While these platforms open exciting new creative spaces for gamers and game developers alike, they also raise ethical concerns: Smart speakers are powerful twenty-first century surveillance capable of interpreting, recording and synthesizing human speech. Through the lens of a case study on John Cayley’s ludic Alexa skill The Listeners, this paper interrogates how Amazon Echo’s technological affordances enable new forms of surveillance while also giving rise to a new poetics of voice interaction. Illuminating aesthetic and ethical dimensions can help scholars in game studies assess the risks and perks of this new ludic platform.”

Pisarski, Mariusz. ‘Poetics in Action: Time and Code in the Poetry of John Cayley and the Poets of RozdzielczośĆ Chleba.’ Forum Poe­t­yki = Forum of Poetics Spring/Summer (2016): 6-19 (accessed July 13, 2018).

"As a practitioner (a publisher and producer) of electronic literature, I have not encountered a more complex and radical work in recent years than the series of poetic programs prepared by John Cayley and Daniel C. Howe that constitute the cycle The Readers Project (2010–2016). Individual installments of this long-term project contain the whole gamut of complexity that code in its proper function brings to poetry and poetics: the programmable function of transforming a poem’s content, style, rhetoric, and context." (13)

Portela, Manuel. ‘Protest and Activism in Digital World Literature: Imagining the Internet.’ Chap. 14 In Literature and the Arts since the 1960s: Protest, Identity and the Imagination, edited by Jorge Almeida e Pinho and Márcia Lemos, 242-266. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020. Briefly discusses The Listeners.

Portela, Manuel. Scripting Reading Motions: The Codex and the Computer as Self-Reflexive Machines. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013, pp. 343-47. Contains significant discussion of The Readers Project in particular:

"Paths and patterns that highlight words and phrases within a preexisting text give viewers a representation of acts of reading as performative or deformative interventions that establish their cognitive and perceptual associations with the textual field (345). ... Because every machine reading is also a new instance of writing available for a human reader, the act of reading the machine reading becomes a model for the infinite iterability of writing as actualized by each reading act (347)."

Raley, Rita. ‘Algorithmic Translations.’ CR: The New Centennial Review 16, no. 1 (2016): 115-137 http://escholarship.org/uc/item/9p08q4wq (accessed March 17, 2018). Discusses translation, particularly translation5.

Raley, Rita. ‘Code.Suface || Code.Depth.’ dichtung-digital 36, no. 1 (2007): n.p. http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2006/1-Raley.htm (accessed September 22, 2020). Excellent analyses of overboard, translation, and lens in the context of a thoughtful critical and theoretical argument.

Raley, Rita. Trans_code. Conference on New Media, Technology and the Humanities 17-18 February, 2006. University of California, Irvine, School of Humanities, Humanitech. [http://www.humanities.uci.edu/humanitech/newmediaconference/FriPM9.mp3]. Also to be published in an edited book of essays.

Remediating the Social. Ed. Simon Biggs. Edinburgh: ELMCIP, 2012. Link to the spread representing the Common Tongues installation. Outcomes from The Readers Project were featured in this catalogue.

Rettberg, Scott. Electronic Literature. Cambridge and Medford: Polity Press, 2019. The are many mentions of my work and theoretical writing throughout this exemplary introduction to the field. In particular, windsound is discussed p. 136; with The Readers Project and especially How It Is in common tongues featured pp. 179-80. The Listeners is analyzed pp. 181-82:

"[The Listeners] shapes an emergent narrative which varies every time it runs but always centers on the anxious relationship of the human to the device, the cognizing and interlocuting device, as for the first time significant relationships form between humans and robots listeners they have invited into their own homes."

Ricardo, Franciso J. The Engagement Aesthetic: experiencing new media art through critique. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. See: pp. 176-81 of chapter 14 in the section of this book which considers 'Engagement as Post-Literary Mechanism' and discuses The Readers Project.

Schäfer, Jörgen. 'Netzliteratur.' Handbuch Medien Der Literatur. Eds. Natalie Binczek, Till Dembeck and Jörgen Schäfer. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013. 481-501. Discusses The Readers Project.

Schäfer, Jörgen. ‘Passing the Calvino Test? Writing Machines and Literary Ghosts.’ In Digital Media and Textuality: From Creation to Archiving, edited by Daniela Côrtes Maduro. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2017, 23-44. Discusses The Readers Project.

Schäfer, Jörgen. ‘Rethinking Comparative Literature: Literary Studies in the Age of Electronic Media.’ In Littérature et Numérique: Quand, Comment, Pourquoi?, edited by Philippe Bootz and Hermès Salceda. Paris: Presses Universitaires du Nouveau Monde, 2014, 131-150. Discusses The Readers Project.

Stewart, Garrett. ‘From Codex to Codecs.’ In Book Presence in a Digital Age, edited by Kiene Brillenburg Wurth, Kári Driscoll and Jessica Pressman, 44-59. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. Briefly discusses my installation The Reading Room, q.v.

Smith, Hazel. ‘Bending Voices, Opening Ears: Voice, Music, Sound, and Affect in Digital Literature.’ Chap. 12 In Global Perspectives on Digital Literature: A Critical Introduction for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Torsa Ghosal, 196-209. New York: Routledge, 2023.

Discusses affect in ‘The Listeners’ as a function of synthetic speech and acknowledges my writing on aurature.

Tanasescu, Chris, and Ralua Tanasescu. ‘Literary Translation in Electronic Literature and Digital HumanitiesGo.’ Chap. 8 In Translation Beyond Translation Studies, edited by Kobus Marais, 143-164. London: Routledge, 2022.

Discusses translation with respect to my work as demonstrated in (elit) practice – through analysis of the piece entitled ‘translation’ and the earlier and less-noted ‘Essay on the Golden Lion’ – and relative to my own statements, especially ‘The translation of process.’

Wright, David. ‘Computer as Co-Author: Creative Writing & Artificial Intelligence.’ Kulturtechniken 4.0 (2020): n.p. https://www.goethe.de/prj/k40/en/lan/coc.html (accessed September 19, 2020). Briefly discusses The Readers Project and my re-write of Flusser.