Poetry News

Crack the Agrippa Code, Win Every William Gibson Book

By Harriet Staff

From HuffPo:

Twenty years ago, cyberpunk novelist William Gibson published his poem "Agrippa (a book of the dead)" in an unprecedented and extraordinary way. He distributed the poem on a 3.5-inch disk stuffed into the hollowed out pages of a hand-made art book. When the disk was run on a Mac computer of the era, the poem scrolled (uncontrollably) across the screen and then encrypted -- and effectively destroyed -- itself. A reader had one shot to absorb it, and then it was gone forever.

Gibson's elusive verse is in the news these days because a website called Cracking the Agrippa Code has challenged the Internet to unravel the code that devoured the poem. Whoever succeeds first will win a copy of every book Gibson has ever published.

The full text of "Agrippa" has already been salvaged. It's believed that some enterprising NYU students videotaped the poem as it scrolled onscreen at its public debut, and then posted it online. Gibson found that outcome "pleasant enough," and, in order to get the poem out exactly as he intended it, he's since published it, in full, on his website.

Full article, with appropriate links, here.

Originally Published: July 17th, 2012