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[personal profile] primeideal
For my last post of the week, a bot account entirely on Twitter; pentametron. This account finds and retweets pairs of tweets that happen to form rhymed couplets of iambic pentameter. (At first, it just did single lines in iambic pentameter, but then it got access to more of the stream of tweets, and began doing couplets.) It also has its own website,, where you can see seven couplets at a time, formatted into sonnets.

The only direct control is that the bot's programmer has restricted certain phrases from popping up, if before they were getting rhymed over and over again. (Something like "I wanna watch the hunger games again!" was apparently very popular a year or so ago.) So, the bot will pair together two different messages from completely different users, with no expectation of sense. With literally zero expectations, any time it rises above that to create something surprisingly meaningful, it's entertaining! Sometimes a live event is going on (holiday, major sporting event, election night) that prompts a lot of people to tweet similar messages at the same time, so then the couplets will look coherent based on that.
Another touchdown! Ravens all the way!
No power for the Super Bowl? Okay.
Other times, we'll get random coincidences.
what is the definition of a friend?
We stand together till the very end.
(As an aside, ten syllables is not a lot, compared to the one-hundred-forty character maximum for Twitter! So the content comes across as relatively short.)
Another amusing note is that every once in a while, the "human" writing one of the tweets for the robot to come across...isn't human either. The bot @stupidcounter spells out numbers as words, increasing every two minutes--and once you get up into the hundreds of thousands, a lot of English numbers themselves are iambic pentameter. So, for the Yuletide fanfiction gift exchange, someone asked for a story "shipping" @pentametron and @stupidcounter ...and I obliged. (Everything centered in this is a verbatim couplet from pentametron. Everything off to the side is me, writing in imitation style.)
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[personal profile] primeideal
We're stepping away from blogs that self-identify as being poetry, but I think this builds a good transition between the Tumblr blogs I've set up so far and my final example. Today's blog is Anagramatron, which scans Twitter for two different Tweets that happen to be anagrams. There is some manual control, for ruling out the cases when, for instance, two people post exactly the same thing. Or, when a typo of transposing two letters or words leads to substantively the same message.
There are, however, many coincidental anagrams out there. And allowing various punctuation in the two copies (including but not limited to Twitter hashtags) can allow for even more diversity of meaning.
Inside North Korea
I lied, it's over now
The final last words.
I love great naps!
eh ive had better nights
The last one in particular I find interesting, because it reuses one of the important words (night and nights). If someone was trying to construct a clever anagram from scratch, this repetition could be seen as an inefficient use of the letters. Similarly, deliberate misspellings sort of defeat the purpose of building one's own anagram. (Yes, there is a community of users who have identified the hallmarks of a good anagram! Including being well-mixed and spelled well.) Here, the spontaneity of two different users inadvertently collaborating (in my opinion) makes up for these departures from the ideal. Natural misspellings open the door to a much wider range of coincidences.
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
[personal profile] primeideal
 Another Tumblr blog that is up-front about its found poetry also employs a very popular website, but relies on users to send in the poems they find. I speak of Google Poetics, a site that groups together (usually four, or sometimes several sets of four) lines that result from the same attempts at a Google Autocomplete.
In my opinion, these can actually be interpreted pretty well by intentional poetic standards. Like many good poems, they have some elements of formal structure--in this case, usually a repetitive beginning to each line. But they also are full of surprises--the first three might set up a pattern that the fourth breaks, the last line might cause you to interpret the others in a new light, and so forth. The importance of "lineation" and surprising but meaningful line breaks is key.
For instance, the search term "Would any" prompts...
would anyone care if i died
would anyone miss me
would anybody die for me
would anyone care for a bon bon
While,  "what will h" prompts...
what will humans look like in the future
what will happen in the future
what will happen to canadian pennies
what will happen to all the pennies
Because Google picks up on alternate spellings or contractions of words, sometimes the exact formal repetition breaks down.
one day we will all be free
one day we will all die
one day we'll all be ghosts
one day we'll all understand lyrics.
(Which is, in my view, much improved if you don't know that "one day we'll all understand" is itself a lyric that people are curious about. Instead I thought "eh, in the present time some of us fail to understand lyrics to songs in general. But things will get better, down the line!")
Seeing some autocomplete results can also inspire you to try alternate search entries, which leads to "longform" poems of sets of searches pieces together. The curators, so far as I know, are a little stingier about how many of these they post. But I'm not sure. Again, it's part of the magic of Google that existential longings are mixed right in with pop music lyrics--sometimes uncited. As above, I think it might be funnier if you don't know which is which.
Here's the FAQ page. Like the Times Haiku, they post in image form--in this case, direct screenshots of the Google drop-down box. I do think this form is a little more entertaining than the haiku.
If you like funny autocomplete results, there are a couple fun non-poetic backlogs around the internet... US States map and Sporcle Quizzes for countries of the world and Shakespeare characters.
primeideal: Wooden chessboard. Text: "You may see all kinds of human emotion here. I see nothing other than a simple board game." (chess musical)
[personal profile] primeideal
The first "digital found poetry" blog I'd like to link to is the New York Times Haiku.
This Tumblr blog uses a computer program to count syllables in single sentences that appear in Times articles; it looks for sentences where the spaces of the words allow for a five/seven/five syllable haiku. I got into the blog in late May, with sports haiku such as
"The stadium was
visible in silhouette,
like a waning moon."
One of the things that intrigues me about these kinds of websites is the ratio of human to machine control. With the setup in place, nobody has to count syllables--they just turn the program loose on the articles, and let it go. However, an explanatory page notes that "human journalists select it and post it on this blog" when they find a worthwhile poem. It's not clear how many they have to reject, before posting a good one. Read Jacob Harris' About page over here. So there's some degree of choice when it comes to the "found" aspect of poetry--but the clear-cut rules for syllable count allow some objective metric of what qualifies as a haiku, for the purposes of this project. (Unsurprisingly, more complicated and subjective rules like "a haiku should include a kigo word that indicates the season" have been relaxed here.)
And yes, this was run by actual employees of the New York Times, which amuses me--you'd think maybe someone else would have come up with the idea and threw their program at the first highbrow publication that came to mind, but no, it's an in-house affair!
They also decided that they wanted to make their posts as images rather than plain text, the former option maybe a little more in keeping with the Tumblr usage? Personally, I'm not sure how much the project gains from that setup, but others may disagree.
Enjoy the archives!
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
[personal profile] primeideal
 Hey, I'm primeideal and I'll be hosting a week on "digital found poetry." I'm not really crazy about this name, but I don't know what to call these various web sites I'll be writing about--to me they're all under the same umbrella, but it's hard to pin down how, exactly, to describe the umbrella.
Most of these can be considered some forms of "found poetry," which is a catch-all term to generally refer to language that's found in a context other than consciously-created poetry, that's later reinterpreted as poetic by some other person.
In general, I personally don't enjoy most found poetry. Or, put another way, I don't share the mindset that seems to lie behind some (though not all) found poetry--if there's a sort of self-imposed humility, a fear that being deliberate in picking one's own words is passe, or that it's cool and newfangled to "poetically" "interpret" someone else's text instead.
However, I do enjoy texts that correspond to formal constraints. And in this day and age, it's easier than ever to--not only have a large corpus of text to sort through--but to come up with automated ways of parsing it and pointing out various coincidences. So, throughout the week, I'll be looking at different ways people have used the social networking sites Twitter and/or Tumblr--as well as more old-fashioned sources, like the New York Times--to share snippets of interesting text. Coincidences and formal wordplay abound, but meaning is--as always--what you make of it.
jjhunter: A sheep with shaded glasses and a straw hat lies on its side; overhead floats the pun 'on the lamb' (as in baby sheep). (on the lamb)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Society members by code numbers: 9 – [personal profile] lexigent; 16 – [personal profile] fyreharper; 24 – J.J. the Pointed Verse of Reasoned Debate; 28 – [personal profile] firecat; 29 – [personal profile] lizcommotion; 34 – [personal profile] okrablossom; 35 – Pau Amma; 40 – [personal profile] bookblather; and 41 – [personal profile] primeideal.

"There's something intimate about secrecy. When someone glances about and lowers their voice, you instinctively lean in. Whatever it is that the two of you discuss, your soft-voiced conversation creates a illusion of a private space, one set apart from the crowded world outside.

"Let's create such a space here [...]" Thus begins the Covert Collaboration Challenge, "a little experiment in secrecy as a recipe for intimacy". Over the course of a week, myself and my eight fellow Society members wrote two original sonnets; the majority of the lines in each were written with only one to two preceding lines for reference, and in the case of the second sonnet, the prompt ("spontaneous musicals, or What if life was more like theater?'").



full text of the 'Shakespearean' sonnet behind the cut )



full text of the 'loose Petrarchean' sonnet behind the cut )

All are welcome to comment and discuss. Society members, was this experiment successful in fostering intimacy? Do you have any favorite exchanges or quotes you'd like to share from our Top Secret discussion threads?
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
[personal profile] primeideal
No real crossover today, but the line about black dogs being named Sirius is a nod to Harry Potter and Outernet (children's science fiction humor book series). I suspect there may be others.

Who Let The Dogs Out? )
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[personal profile] primeideal
Following on from yesterday's poem, this installment takes us into the profane world of @MayorEmanuel. This was a fake Twitter account mocking Rahm Emanuel's run for mayor of Chicago, accompanied by his loyal companions, Carl the Intern and Quaxelrod the Duck. At the end of the saga, Rahm was transported into a portal back to the correct timeline, cussing all the way.

All Politics Is Local )
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[personal profile] primeideal
Revolution is a TV series exploring life fifteen years after a worldwide blackout (with numerous flashbacks to the modern day). This poem features spoilers up through the most recent (seventh) episode.

The Shirt Off Her Back )
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[personal profile] primeideal
Numb3rs is a TV show about a pair of brothers, an FBI agent and a math professor, who combine their skills to solve crime. I'm focusing on the academics for this crossover.

Taxicab Geometry )
primeideal: Text: "Right, the colors. Whoa! Go away! We're trying to figure out the space-time continuum here." on Ravenclaw banner (animorphs)
[personal profile] primeideal
For the DIY Serial Poetry week, I'm going to do a series of poems in the shared Schrodinger's Heroes universe. Most of them, I think, will be crossovers with other fandoms, feel free to ask for background if anything's unclear or interesting.

Animorphs is a science-fiction book series about a team of five Earthling kids plus one alien who have to defend Earth from an invasion of another alien species. The (()) is replacing the angle brackets for thoughtspeak (if you know the fandom, if not, it's just some different notation to set off alien telepathy in dialogue).

The Tentacle Monster Chronicles )

primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
[personal profile] primeideal
An eclogue is a poem on a pastoral subject (nature), often in dialogue form. I wrote and edited this last spring.

Read more... )
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
[personal profile] primeideal
 Hello again!  A few weeks ago I focused on ars poetica poems--this week will just be a whirlwind tour of some of the poets whose work I've enjoyed running across. Thanks to [personal profile] jjhunter  for suggesting this broad focus.

I recently read an anthology of limericks (The Penguin Book of Limericks, edited by E.O. Parrott), so I thought I'd quote some of my favorites from "anon," who needs no introduction.
There was a young fellow from Tyne
Put his head on the South-Eastern line;
But he died of ennui,
For the 5.53
Didn't come till a quarter past nine.

God's plan made a hopeful beginning
But Man spoilt his chances by sinning.
We trust that the story
Will end in great glory
But at present, the other side's winning.

As he filled up his order book pp.
He declared, 'I want higher ww.'
So he struck for more pay,
But, alas, they now say
He is sweeping out elephants' cc.
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
[personal profile] primeideal
Another poem coming by way of someone I don't think of, foremost, as a poet. As well as writing the Narnia novels and various apologetics, C.S. Lewis also wrote science fiction and poetry. "A Confession" features an allusion to one of the poems I struggled with in the high school classes I've discussed before, which made me very glad to run into it.

My version follows below. Although the structure of stanzas (and line count) has changed, it's a letter-by-letter anagram of Lewis' original. Working with this constraint means I started at the beginning but also worked backwards from the end to make sure I had a strong finish before running out of letters. Then I stitched them together in the middle. Maybe you can spot the point where I was like "ffff, I have too many ffffs to get rid offff." ;)

A Confession )
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
[personal profile] primeideal

Hello! I'm primeideal, and I'll be sharing a few "ars poetica" poems I enjoy this week! :) A fair warning that there might not be much in the way of diversity among poets on offer (although I do hope to include some of my own poems towards the end, alongside published ones), but maybe I'll have a different range to choose later on.

About me and poems I like )

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to say hello in the comments and share suggestions. :)

(Admins, let me know if I've made a mess of the tagging!)


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February 2017



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