About the website

Why not just…write poetry normally?

That…kind of defeats the point of the blog.

This blog actually exists because I don’t get most poetry, especially instapoetry. For some ridiculous reason, it doesn’t speak to me at all. Maybe I’m unenlightened. Maybe I’m not their target market. Maybe it’s just shitty. Regardless of which explanation you prefer,

it
looks to me
like prose
separated by arbitrary line breaks

Come on. Even I could write that. Even software could write that. So after a facebook conversation where my phone-generated prompt actually looked like a poem, I decided to try it out.

How do you generate poetry?

I type a word into my trusty iPhone, then make sentences by repeatedly hitting the middle suggestion. As of right now, I’m rocking iOS 10.2.1 (for people who care about the algorithms I might be using in this).

In the future I would like to experiment with Markov chaining, bot drivel and maybe even some more advanced poetry generators in the hope that they sound more like a human poem. Maybe not a good human poem, but more than the algorithmic gibberish this blog started out with.

Aren’t you just pushing into an already overcrowded space?

Yeah. That’s actually something I do worry about. I know from the experiences of friends and loved ones that publishing is a terrible world. I feel an intense amount of guilt for pissing around while people are trying to eat.

At the same time, while computer-generated poetry exists, not that many people do it. Technically what I’m doing right now might not count – I’m using predictive text algorithms rather than writing my own. In the future, when I don’t suck at code, I might do that. Till then, I want to see just how well predictive text can mimic a poem a human writes. I think it’s an interesting project. I don’t think that many people do it on a sustained basis. I think it could tell us a lot about the inner workings of poetry. For that, I think it’s valuable and worth keeping around. Even if it is a pisstake.

(It’s also quite a lot of fun and occasionally produces surprising results, which I think is reason enough to keep doing it.)

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