Skip to main content

Poetry vs. programming: Wandering the city, a writer finds the intersection of literature and code

Published on January 4, 2021

A view of the Amazon Spheres from the Sixth Avenue side, located in Seattle, Washington.
Amazon Spheres from Sixth Avenue, Seattle, Washington, U.S. Image Credit: Joe Mabel (CC ASA 4.0)

Originally written by Frances McCue, a poet, writer, co-founder of nonprofit community writing center Hugo House, and teaching professor at the University of Washington Department of English, as a special installment of the GeekWire Podcast.

I needed to take a break from work and get outside. Also, I’d been reading a lot of Baudelaire so I imagined being a flaneur when I headed out to walk in the city. I live in Seattle, (it could be Dublin or Boston or Washington DC) and a lot of people are living in tents and doorways and parks while some well-dressed minor athletes run by or pass on bikes. Buildings are boarded up and the shiny big technology palaces, typically humming with thousands of workers, are epidemic-level quiet.

Being an urban explorer without an itinerary, I soon found, was harder than it seemed. Wandering is challenging; it’s a mind game, willing yourself to get lost. I tended to move in straight lines and fall into old routes, so I had to force myself to make random turns. The more I walked, the more ironic this became because I was thinking about the linearity of computer coding as I passed big buildings where tech workers, until recently, had clicked away on their computers. What did they actually do? I wondered. As I strolled, I aspired to the whimsical turns and pauses that Baudelaire took as he roamed Paris, a city that ramped up being a flaneur to a whole new level, especially during the mid 1800’s when that metropolis, too, was a mix of finery and filth.

Continue reading at Geekwire.

Originally written by Frances McCue for Geekwire.
Search by categories

Twitter Feed