April 12, 2016

Monday, March 19, 2012

Robo Poems: Round 2

The VEX Robotics National Championship is over. My 15-year-old flies home tomorrow morning. He had a great time, and we had a blast watching his team compete via webcast (thanks, NASA)!

On Poetry Friday, I posted several poems about robots, and animation of a robot reciting Ogden Nash poems.

Today, I thought I'd try a different kind of robot poetry -- automatic poem generators. Let's try a few.

ThinkZone's automatic poem generator lets you choose one of two themes, sea or city. Here is "my" random poem (city theme). The only creativity involved is in the title I made up for the poem.

The Cold Hustle

The cigarette shrinks like a dead light.
All cigarettes hustle cold, hot rains.
Work is a rainy street.
Slums grow like grimy hoods.
All jackhammers get misty, cold workers.

Keith Enevoldsen, author of this page, displays the lists of concrete and abstract nouns, transitive and intransitive verbs, etc. that the generator draws from. It's pretty fascinating stuff. I wonder whether traditional ("real") poets could learn from the programming behind this generator.

Here is another poem generator that's a little less random: Fill in a questionnaire first, press "Yes!" and voila, a poem appears at the bottom of the page:


crunch London
  search for old Ellicott City to sip early spring dusk
recessed lights is pruning buddleia
my daughter is rising quickly

rest if want to eat a cupcake

somebody the barrista
not you. 

You can make a Mad-Libs style love poem at Links2Love. I admit to playing around with the line breaks a little.

My Love

Your skin glows like the clementine, blossoms Piscean
as the pear blossom in the purest hope of spring.
My heart follows your clarinet voice and leaps like a frog
at the whisper of your name.
The evening floats in on a great red tail hawk wing.
I am comforted by your blue jeans that I carry
into the twilight of castle-beams and hold next to my elbow.
I am filled with hope that I may dry your tears of soy latte.
As my earlobe falls from my sock, it reminds me of your flag.
In the quiet, I listen for the last boom! of the day.
My heated arm leaps to my tee shirt. I wait in the moonlight
for your secret raven so that we may cook as one, arm to arm,
in search of the magnificent green and mystical dough of love.
A pair of socks, knitted with love.

That one had the whole family cracking up.

And who could resist the Goth-o-Matic Poetry Generator? Not me. Fill out the form, selecting phrases for your poem. You even get to choose a Gothic image to go with it.

Alone in Darkness
The night falls in a heavy, suffocating cloak, lost are we.
The light for which you pray
flares once, then dies,
crushed by a velvet ebon nothingness.
All hope must surely perish.

Your love, no more.
How could you tear us asunder?
Spirits surround us, crying,

I feel like I am channeling Edgar Allan Poe here.

Here is some great advice from Goth-O-Matic's authors: "The pieces the Generator creates are considered copyrighted, sort of, because the words contained within it were written by someone else. This means that while you're free to post the poem on your own site, you can't take the poem and submit it to a publisher. One, it's plagiarism... two, it's ridiculous, because the Generator creates BAD gothic poetry." Amen to that.

Some others to try:
Skritter has a random poem generator App 
Diamante form (you actually write this poem yourself)

After checking these out, I prefer sites where there is some interaction or choice from the "poet." Second best, sites that generate random poems, but show the word lists or reveal the patterns used for creating the poems.

And, because I am a complete geek, we will end with the Vogon Poetry Generator. (Non-geeks, this is a reference to the satirical SF classic, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.) Once again, I added a title.

Ode to a Foobly Pea

See, see the artistic sky
Marvel at its big puce depths.
Tell me, Kathy do you
Wonder why the mole rat ignores you?
Why its foobly stare
makes you feel crappy.
I can tell you, it is
Worried by your duinga facial growth
That looks like
A cilantro.
What's more, it knows
Your vapid potting shed
Smells of pea.
Everything under the big artistic sky
Asks why, why do you even bother?
You only charm dead mouses.

It's Monday. Cure your start-of-the-work-week blues with some Vogon Poetry and remember, Don't Panic.

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