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3 phonemic stanzas

February 18, 2010

for thy arts i drown victor of passion
whilst rising mayst suspect thy riot flowers
outward my costly counterfeit expires
thy sweet love mocks my better nights

of her successive honey thousand errors
deeds becoming sin should love no badness
therefore blessed offender spent with each
sunset unkindness divine yourself guess darkening

when to thee my guilty feasting things
in means as appetite bestow phrase feelings
and should redeem the evil thee created
happy melancholy my antiquity

– thu feb 18 2010 manually edited from classnphone generation from shakespearean sonnets

For this poem I used an updated version of ClassNPhone in which I divided the vowels into front, central, and back groups based on my reading of the wikipedia article on vowels. The updated interface looks like this:

The image above shows the settings I used for the first stanza: emphasizing back vowels. For the second stanza I emphasized central vowels, and for the third stanza I emphasized front vowels. For each stanza I generated 5-6 lines and re-arranged words til I thought they sounded nice.

I also added a textarea to show the evaluation ‘score’ of each line as it is generated. But once I generated an entire stanza, I wanted to see how well the entire stanza would be scored, so I also added a button to do so (called phone check – it gets it right or it gets cut!)

So after I generate the first stanza, I can see how well it scores based on a ‘back vowel’ evaluation setting, how well it scores based on a ‘central vowel’ setting, and how well it scores based on a ‘front vowel’ setting. After I do so for each stanza, I can make a table like this:

stanza back central front
1 220 70 100
2 80 200 120
3 50 100 270

Stanza 1 does indeed score better in terms of back vowels, stanza 2 toward central, stanza 3 toward front. (I might want to normalize these values – I’m still thinking this through.)

The latest version of classnphone is here if you want to check it out. Save to your desktop, rename extension to .zip, and run the web page therein. The latest version is now online here!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. chadahardy permalink
    February 22, 2010 1:26 pm

    Interesting. You can feel it when you read it out loud. It’s like swallowing very slowly. Could have some interesting applications.

    Too bad I run a Mac or I’d play around with it.

    Also, welcome to the blog!

  2. erogk7 permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:18 pm

    Yes, like swallowing slowly. Very pleasurable to read, especially when I became aware of the different vowel sounds that were being highlighted. Texts produced with this program remind me conceptually of Christian Bok, specifically Eunoia (it’s free to read online, if you haven’t heard of it). Reading his vowel-constrained poems feels similar to reading all front, middle or back vowels.

    Also I’d be curious to see this process applied to source texts that are less poetic in nature.

    • February 28, 2010 4:11 am

      > Christian Bok, specifically Eunoia

      thanks for the tip, I now realize I’m not just writing alliterative drivel, I’m writing sound poetry.

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