Digital Studies 101

A common resource for Digital Studies at UMW.

Creative Coding

Code is. Poetry is code?
Code is poetry. Is code?
Code? Is poetry is? Code.

There are many reasons to write computer code. As we read from Nelson and Rushkoff (and plenty of others), learning how computers work and how to make them work is a fundamental competency of human existence. Yet putting it in those terms raises the stakes on what can also simply be used to create something interesting, something annoying, or something beautiful.

Ranging from one-purpose websites, to procedurally generated novels, to the rougher edges of or the diverse field of electronic literature, one can find many applications of computer code executed in support of some idea or simply for the heck of it.

Your job in this module is to learn about computer programming by exploring its creative uses and contributing your own.


  • Explore creative and playful uses of computer code
  • Make your own experiments and interventions into creative computing

Tools and Resources

Suggested Tasks

  • Learn some HTML and CSS from Codecademy
  • Create a web page that interprets — through design, typography, and layout — a poem or short story
  • Complete a course in one or more higher-level scripting languages (Javascript, Python, etc.) at
  • Read Nick Montfort’s “Taroko Gorge” and modify its code to make your own derivation
  • Write a program that generates poetry (follow a specific format like sonnet or haiku)
  • Write a program that interfaces with Wordnik to generate poetry
  • Learn about Twitter bots and make your own!

Slack Channel: creative-coding