A great deal of poetry mystifies it's readers: It may sound pretty, but it leaves you wondering "what the hell was that supposed to mean?". Yet meaning (or the lack of it) is the one ingredient distinguishing computer generated poems from those written by humanoids. Once you take away a poem's semantic features, it's remaining defining characteristics might easily be automated in the cyber realm. For example, one of the reasons a poem is recognized as a poem (and not prose) is that the text is formatted into some kind of rhythmic structure. A poetic rhythm is usually achieved by matching the syllable counts in pairs of lines (couplets) or alternating lines. A syllable can be thought of as a beat: it is a natural rhythmic unit in a spoken word. In the case of songs (sung poems), the syllables usually sync up to the notes in the melody. The skill of matching up the syllable counts in adjoining (or alternating) lines of poetry might traditionally be identified as a special human talent, but it is a chore which can also be performed by poetry software. The fact that no computer can understand human language shouldn't present much of a problem: many songs and poems seem meaningless anyway!
The ROBOPOEM algorithm is now bundled with the Cut'n'Mix postmodern word processor. It is available for download from: HERE.
New for Fall 2013:
Check out the gallery of automatic collages generated with the ROBOCOLLAGE process, now embodied in a Windows application available for free download from the ROBOCOLLAGE Website.
Automatic Collage Example 1
Automatic Collage Example 2
Also from The Internet Annex - Free Soundtrack Music: a searchable online library containing tracks from four soundtrack composers which can be used as free background music for videos and presentations.
What is ROBOPOEM?
Robopoem takes a block of text, analyses each word, and then assembles it into couplets with (approximately) the same rhythmic characteristics. Random words are also thrown into the mix to:
Robopoem will be of most use to postmodern lyricists or lazy rock bands who don't really care about the semantic content of their songs. Here is a formula to generate verses or choruses:
- achieve the desired syllable count
- add rhyming pairs
- mystify the reader
- Count the number of beats in your melody line (every time you hit or pluck a note)
- Set the syllable count dropdown to match the number of beats
- Paste some text into the text input area
- Hit "Poem" and wait for the robot to wake up and do it's thing
AVAILABLE ROBOPOEM FUNCTIONS:
Regular Poem This method takes the user text found in the main text area and attempts to use as much words as possible to assemble a poem which conforms to the structure defined in the settings panel.
Shakespeare Mixes user text with random picks from a custom database of words extracted from the plays of William Shakespeare.
Nonsense Mixes user text with nonsense words in the tradition of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. James Joyce was another writer who made heavy use of "nonsense" words in his masterpiece Finnegan's Wake
Haiku Combines a mixture of user text and random words into the traditional Japanese Haiku form with 3 lines of 5, 7, then 5 syllables.