April 12, 2016

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Poetry Month 2013: Random Poetry Generators with Kay Weeks

Some days, I'm too wrapped up in teaching and parenting to make time for writing. But even when I'm short on time, I could "write" a poem. How? With a random poetry generator.

Poetry magnets from the Huffington Post.
Follow the link to an article is about a random
Williams Carlos Williams poem generator.
Random poetry generators are more for fun than they are for serious craft. However, sometimes poetry robots manage to create a line or an idea worth saving for later.

Poet Kay Weeks, who lives near me in historic Ellicott City, Maryland, tested out one such generator for us for today's visit to the TechnoVerse. Kay blogs poetry, travel and photography at A Walk into the Past.

Historic Ellicott City dates to pre-Colonial America.
I directed Kay to check out an old Author Amok post which includes a list of several such generators. Kay and I had an interesting email conversation about the poetry generators, which I've included in the post.

First, Kay wrote:

I looked up techno-poetry and found... instructions on using the computer to write a poem, or add bells and whistles. It made my jaw drop.

Poetry is not easy to write—it’s a craft and probably one of the most difficult. I do not think this use of the computer gets at feelings, but could be fun.
Then, Kay found that one of the generators actually worked for her! I wrote back to say:

"That's great, KayMy favorite line is 'never pull a moon.' That could be its own jumping off point for a poem."

Kay responded:

Thanks, Laura. I tried many combinations until I found one I liked.  

Kay's Twitter account photo!
And here is Kay's guest post:

I’ve written poetry since I was about ten years old, so using a techno-generator was a bit fearful (is that the word?) or, rather, foreign. My first thought was negative because the creative aspect of writing poetry—from nothing to something—is why I write, but mostly, the need to express a feeling, then share it with others for the connectivity that is so important to me. “Have you felt that? Then, we are not alone…or crazy!”

This short poem was created randomly using ThinkZone. At first I didn’t understand how it worked, but then, just relaxed and several poems appeared…I said “No” to myself, and kept trying until this one came up. 

Interestingly, it represents me. I have written about sun, gulls, love and/or resistance to it, and the moon. The first line, questioning, is perfect. My own poetry would be more logical, so I like random quality because it is NOT me, but I could probably benefit from being more NOT me at times.  The poem seems to be about control, or the lack of it. As far as the lads go, that line made me smile, then laugh out loud.  I have learned something by wiggling my toes in the techno-waters.

Where is the warm sun?
Never command a gull.
All lads desire old, warm sharks.
Never pull a moon.

by Kay Weeks, via ThinkZone's Random Poetry Generator

Thank you for sharing the poem and your beautiful photograph, Kay. Are those fancy tulips? They look almost like peonies.

Keith's ThinkZone is an awesome site to share with kids. There are sections for math, science and language tech-play. I can't wait to check out the gibberish generator.

Tomorrow, Baltimore poet Clarinda Harriss uses texting errors for poetic inspiration. Just thinking about some of the phone-fail typos I've made gets me laughing. Good thing my frenzy friends have a sense of human humor.

For now, here is a robot reciting random poetry:

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