AROUND HOME : Poetry From a PC?
YOU SIT ALONE at your desk by the window. A cold rain pours down outside. You want to write a poem to tell your lover of your feelings of ineffable longing and desperate passion. Except, today--cruel fate--the words won’t come.
But, hey! No problem! Just pop a copy of Poetry Generator into your PC and let the music play.
I used to be an expert on
Things I’d rather not remember
Now and then
The pounding of the surf keeps us awake
And it begins to rain
In the morning you notice that
It didn’t mean anything.
But wait a second, you say. Your love is a heavy-duty intellectual, a fan of Sartre and Heidegger. You can’t send a mushy love poem to someone who’s into death, existential terror and the unbearable lightness of being. Then fire up Poetry Generator one more time and lay this little beauty on her mind:
Share a glass of wine with me tonight
Without letting anyone know
And I will follow you
In the milky moonlight
Settle over the landscape
And it had to end this way
Sudden the sky grows dark.
Poetry Generator can compose a poem in about three seconds in any quantity you like. As with snowflakes, no two are alike. The author, R. K. West of Mission Hills, has compiled a library of thousands of words and phrases randomly chosen by the software and then arranged in poetic form according to certain structural rules. Eight out of each 10 poems make only partial sense, but the remainder are at least as comprehensible as the sort of things you see in poetry magazines or the kind of existential Angst that angry young men and women used to shout out at poetry readings.
The weight lifters who don’t belong here
Know exactly what they want
They are all unfaithful to you
Even though they’ve lost track of the time
You feel your cheeks burning with shame
They look at you through binoculars
And your analyst was right.
Poetry Generator, a shareware program, is available from Public Source, P.O. Box 4408, Stanford, Calif. 94309. The cost is $3, plus $1 shipping and California sales tax.