Feature Friday: Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp by Aaron Tucker | Book*hug Press

Feature Friday: Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp by Aaron Tucker

In this week’s edition of Feature Friday, we are pleased to bring you an excerpt from Aaron Tucker’s second full-length collection of poems, Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp. Inspired by the 1968 chess performance of avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp and composer John Cage, Irresponsible Mediums translates Duchamp’s chess games into poems using the ChessBard (an app co-created by Tucker and Jody Miller) and in the process, recreates Duchamp’s joyous approach to making art, while also generating startling computer-made poems that blend the analog and digital in strange and surprising combinations.


Two time U.S. Women’s Chess Champion Jennifer Shahade provides an introduction for the book, and she writes, “By placing poetry side by side with chess, Aaron Tucker reminds us of a not too distant past when we thought a chess-playing robot was far-fetched, and must and may have a human brain underneath it all.” Of Irresponsible Mediums, Leacock Medal winner Gary Barwin calls Aaron’s poems “beautiful gambits that, like the best chess games, delight and intrigue with their elegant and intelligent play.”


We hope you enjoy this excerpt from Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp. Happy reading!


From Irresponsible Mediums:


finger must roughly materialize metal plan!


each resistance, ground apology and

broken protection behind spooned twine


What is slimy variation?

Where is varied instruction?


configuration purposely or purposely cubes

mirror, vase quarters decomposition, highrise

solicits knight inside wish


individual therapist or staged necessity

slows chaste leaf or apocalypse


memory mirrors leaf, each chase

laboriously skins imagination, each twist




Playing White vs George Davidescu (Paris, 1924)




the instantaneous centre or

hour makes estimate beside permanence


L-shaped punctuation (punctuation), this drug and

twist, clutter or strand or

punctuation halves foreground beyond fall


binary texture and screen

central mimics exuberant crawl, binary

covers texture beside iron


pastoral viewpoint, vein or

veiny root


Playing Black vs Savielly Tartakower (Paris, 1929)




the sand interlocks finger

outside logic (logic) or vault or

that cube isolatedly casts sphere


temptation confrontationally and instantly reassembles

or always carves underneath cell


each textbook instantaneously grinds screech

some textbook and sandy sound


Liquorice must soundly consider negation!


Where is each instrumental grinder?

Likely among argument


any wasp some necessary speed

raspily or soundly lives or

pummels electricity or electric allegory

each violent


Playing White vs Savielly Tartakower (Nice, 1930)

Order your copy of Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp here.


Credit: Julia Polyck-O’Neill

Aaron Tucker is the author of four books, Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp (Book*hug) and the poetry collection punchlines (Mansfield Press) as well as two scholarly texts, Virtual Weaponry: The Militarized Internet in Popular Cinemanand Interfacing with the Internet in Popular Cinema (both with Palgrave Macmillan). His current collaborative project, Loss Sets, translates poems into sculptures which are then 3D printed (http://aarontucker.ca/3-d-poems/); he is also the co-creator of The ChessBard, an app that transforms chess games into poems (http://chesspoetry.com). In addition, he is a professor in the English department at Ryerson University. More info can be found at aarontucker.ca.

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