Canada is in the middle of an epic month for poetry with some of the most magical manifestations of mechanized minstrelry ever made, as the Great Canadian PoetTrain Tour hits the rails to celebrate National Poetry Month, carrying, among its passenger list of a score or so poets, my kulturBOT 3.0, a “robotic artwork created by David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller,” designed to compose verse to accompany the tour. my kulturBOT 3.0, a “‘self-publishing’ robot” that looks rather like a cross between a Roomba and the BB-8 rolling droid from the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, “will produce ‘found’ poetry derived from the writings of the geographer and fur trader, David Thompson.”

Readings and performances will take place at the stops along the way, with many offering a chance to meet the robot. There’s also a program of onboard events on certain legs of the tour. The whole series can be followed on Facebook, and runs until April 26th.

“my kulturBOT 3.0 is a small robot, featuring a roving mobility system, a pasta strainer, thermal printer, camera and bicycle flag, making it the perfect guest for any poetry reading,” explains the website. Exactly what function the pasta strainer fulfills I’m not clear, but it’s there. It’s been programmed to produce random poetry based on Thompson’s writings, with results that make a certain kind of … ahem … strained sense. And it can only add to the interest of what already looks like an epic poetic trek.


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