Emergent artificial intelligence (AI) technologies seem to augur a break between poetics today and the poetics of yesteryear. Were we to ask our handheld magic mirrors what kind of poetics now matter most urgently, they (or at least many of the SubStacks they bring us) might well answer: “Today, poetics is whatever one makes of generative AI—or whatever generative AI makes of poetics.” As we strive to understand the forms, cultures, and histories of past literature, we may feel that such AI—or, to be more exact, the hype it receives—casts a chilling shadow over us by instead highlighting how in the near future writing may involve processes that at present we cannot quite comprehend. Still, as the essays in these volumes collectively demonstrate, the past still matters for the future. Whatever twenty-first-century AI technologies may bring, we are motivated to develop such technologies, orient their use, and shape their reception...

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