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Other tools: 3 brief poems with RKCP

June 19, 2010


The oleander on thee,
And in the deadly thrall.
But who on the stars.


sun does fall,
Babes reduced to me,
Such end true lovers have.
And not I


veiled in sleep,
And stagnate and their tune,
And how she milk no tongue
And all !


June 11. Unsupervised generation from n-gram and syllabic models. Source texts: 1 – poems by Oscar Wilde; 2 – William Blake; 3 – Samuel Coleridge. Generator: Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet.

So there you are, 120 years old and in perfect health, chillin on the beach, chatting to a worldwide network of sentient computers that has decided to cater to your every whim. This sort of thing will be everyday life before 2050, according to folks like Ray Kurzweil. If you’re not on team with the dream, maybe you’re suffering from a lack of imagination! In which case Ray has the solution:

A screen saver that writes poetry, a Poet’s Assistant that helps you write poetry (and song lyrics!), and 50 professionally – designed “poet personalities.” Upgrade to get the Poet Analyzer, the Poet Creator, and 50 additional poet personalities.

The Poet’s Assistant is a little underwhelming when you launch it:

The “Rest of Poem” tab is a little better:

Clicking on “Insert” pastes the text into the textarea, natch. The other tabs do pretty much what you’d think they’d do.

The interface is not very inspiring. I think it’s meant to act as a sort of auto-complete suggestion box, but the need to flip between tabs makes it cumbersome. But if you drop it in ‘Next Word’ and just start typing suggested words, you can get into a flow:

So the program apparently builds n-gram language models and has some kind of word-level phoneme model. Pretty straightforward. There is one more nifty feature. The thing comes with an inane screensaver that just scrolls things to the screen like:

Word(s) that Donald R. Lawson
and Robert Louis Stevenson
used that followed ‘away’:
and another from the where

Rhymes and half-rhymes used by Randi
with the word ‘would’:
told cold held hold old

Alliterations used by Kathleen Frances Wheeler
and Sue Klapes Kelly
with the word ‘cross’:
crowded crowds
cracked crawl create creature creatures
cast casting casts closer clouds

Lines of poetry William Shakespeare
might have written (but didn’t):
O me! what others thou this growing age,
Whoever hath his love-kindling fire my chest
Full many a form would have astronomy,

This screen saver is part of Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet (RKCP)
RKCP also includes the Cybernetic Poet Authoring Tool
which can help you with full and half rhymes, alliterations
and ideas for turns of phrase.
This screen saver and the Authoring Tool are available free

A cinquain poem written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet
after reading poems by John Donne
virtuous men on thee.
Thou, sun, art did bestow;
Though she would sink admiration,
I can die.

Word(s) that Patricia Camarena Rose
used that followed ‘take’:
her me

You can configure this screensaver in your Windoze “Display Properties” GUI. You can configure the screensaver to save to a file the lines it generates. You can configure the screensaver to print a new line every 0 seconds. You can ‘Preview’ the screensaver, which shows the text whizzing by for the embryonic AI-overlords to carry to a file where you can pick out the poetry from among all the other crap.
So you get a poetry generator for free, but unfortunately, if you want to build your own language model:

for the low low price of $29.95 (plus tax) you need an upgrade. Warning! The program was compiled for Windows 95 and Windows 98 and hasn’t been supported since then because as any superintelligent sentient computer will tell you, there’s no way more than 100 people on the planet are gonna pay for a poetry generator.

Anyway, the program installs on a Windows XP box but generates half a dozen error messages while it tries to access obsolete registry entries. It seems to run OK tho. Anyway, that’s about all I got to say about this, later!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2010 4:29 pm

    Interesting! I like the idea of an IDE for poetry. Perhaps I’ll try it out (which will require getting back to my desktop and firing up a virtual windows box, eh… or maybe it runs under Wine?)

    Maybe ten years later, they could give out the source. There could be some useful code in it!

  2. June 19, 2010 6:02 pm

    It works pretty well on Wine, actually!

    But you need MFC42.DLL (even to run the RKCP installer properly), which is apparently best installed for Wine like this:

    I tried to email the Kurzweil Art people about whether they’d consider releasing the source, but it bounced :-\

    “Ah! friend, you may feel,–
    An awe came down the appalling trade,
    friend, you are carved sway,–
    Behold the more!
    Till that I cannot live in the day!” (me, RKCP, and Poe.)

    • eddeaddad permalink*
      June 20, 2010 2:44 am

      Great poem, you oughta email scovel for an account so you can post.

      Mad props for getting rkcp working in Wine. (did you try JanusNode, out of curiosity?)

      Though I gotta say, I don’t think you really need RKCP’s source code. Its approach is not that sophisticated. I implemented n-gram generation and phonemic analysis from scratch cause its fun, but “the smart thing” would have been to use something like RiTa (, which provides Java classes for it.


  1. > Interactive Poetry Generation Systems: an Illustrated Overview

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