Creative Writing with Computation and Machine Learning – P02W02-21

Date: Jan 11 - 22, 2021

Skill Level(s): I to III i

Instructor(s): Allison Parrish

Price Option(s):
$625 — Reduced Tuition (COVID-19 Artist Relief Offer)
$1,150 — Full Price Tuition (For those able to pay at this time)


Computational tools and statistical analysis are often deployed as a method to “read” texts. But what about using these same techniques to write them? In this workshop, students use techniques from natural language processing to tear language at its digital seams and lovingly re-articulate it with computer programming—like postmodern Frankenstein-poets. Through a series of pre-written (but easily modifiable) programs, students are introduced to text analysis and language generation with the Python programming language. Techniques include: “big Dada” cut-ups, part-of-speech tagging and extraction, grammars and rules, word vectors, text generation with machine learning language models, and more.


Students learn the basics of computational text analysis and computer-generated text through the lens of creative writing. Pre-written Python example code is provided to guide students through workshop exercises. The workshop leads up to a participant-produced zine and/or reading.


Daily activities center around live coding tutorial sessions followed by in-studio exercises related to simple and advanced tasks, as well as short lectures about underlying theory. The second half of the class focuses on practice, with students applying small and medium-sized experiments with the software, then brainstorming larger projects.


Allison Parrish is a computer programmer, poet, educator and game designer. She is an Assistant Arts Professor at the New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Additional Information: This workshop will meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from January 11 through January 22 at 9AM – 12PM MST for group sessions via ZOOM. Additionally, each student will have one individual meeting with the faculty.

An Anderson Ranch staff member co-teaches the class and coordinates the online platform. There can be a group critique Friday afternoon to wrap up the class. Further details will be emailed to registrants.


Image Courtesy of Allison Parrish

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