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Then & Now: WCW on QWERTY


This is the alphabet q w e r t y u i o p a s d f g h j k l z x c v b n m. The extraordinary thing is that no one has yet taken the trouble to write it out fully.

–William Carlos Williams, “The Simplicity of Disorder” (1929)


1. qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm

A phenomena that happens to a computer’s keyboard when a human being is bored to death…

Bored to death in a cube a human decides to type qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm (all the keyboard buttons in an orderly way) to a search engine to see what comes up…

–urbandictionary.com (May 5, 2006)

Ah, those were the days!

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Michael Leong is the author of the poetry books e.s.p., Cutting Time with a Knife, Who Unfolded My Origami Brain?, and Words on Edge. His creative work has been anthologized in THE &NOW AWARDS 2: The Best Innovative Writing, Best American Experimental Writing 2018, and Bettering American Poetry, Volume 3. His co-translation, with Ignacio Infante, of Vicente Huidobro’s long poem Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven is forthcoming from co•im•press in late 2019. His critical monograph Contested Records: The Turn to Documents in Contemporary North American Poetry is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press in May 2020. He has received grants from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts.

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