Sunday, October 05, 2008

Charles Shere, poet

I have written a new poem, as follows:

An ardent point

Supernatural as a point, more supernatural than evolution
Natural as an organism, more natural than development
Natural as an access, more natural than disputation
Natural as a point, more natural than stage

Perturbation on a forest and rare
       science, fair in
            news and privacy
Rarely simplifying, condemning, tottering
       slowly at a kindly crumb
What if she should have
       known at night?

Approached and got
She reached for timidity
Ardent as point, more ardent
       than nightfall

She vanished the point
       and pointed to the approach

Knew and ignored
Came and went

Well: I didn't write this, of course; I suspect it was generated artificially; it doesn't look like a poem that a conscious human would have written.
It appears online in an "anthology" called Issue 1, a 3785-page .pdf file containing poems attributed to 3,164 different writers. I found out about this over at Ron Silliman's blog, a daily reading that has provided me quite a lot to think about over the months.
Ron's in a dudgeon over this, and I can see his point: he's a professional poet, and annoyed at seeing something attributed to him that he certainly never wrote. It's even more automatically synthesized than the one I've reproduced above. The first four lines:
Lost as food and won as a coast
Inefficient as a corner and efficient as a recess
Lost as balance, won as a time
Lost as a coast and found as a recess

You can see the similarity of form in the openings of these two "poems." I don't know if others in the anthology are similarly generated; I haven't looked. There are enough books around here I haven't read that I want to read that I don't have to spend more time on this anthology.
But it's interesting, I think, that someone has programmed a computer to do all this, and to post the result on the Internet, and as a .pdf file: why's he doing it? And where did he get those 3,164 names? And what made him think I'm a poet?

1 comment:

Grace said...

Yes, that is strange... and just a wee bit, erm, freaky. Why indeed? Although I'm not sure I want to know.