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other tools: 3 poems with Versifier and Thunder Thought

July 10, 2010

1. Haiku Number 9

As evening begins
a weary bird stops to rest
on a sheltered path

2. Under Construction

two nurses and a doctor
i drank black coffee and could not sleep
eyes glow red at the fringe of the firelight
philosophies which we call languages
in the most difficult moments of his existence
your face in a store window
the prisoner arrives

3. Poetry

Someone sensually, stubbornly trace this stream.
He lyrically beautify the sense.
A noble artist solemnly quotes that honest english…
Who remember the fame of a fanciful comparison from the artificial payment.
Justifiably, an ancient religion originally classifies the brain,
An useful stress joyously opens an unnatural tribute!
Someone obscurely practice a credit,
Knowingly, an interesting screen resultingly falls a scroll.

– June 24, unsupervised generation from templates.  Generator: Versifier (1 and 2) and Thunder Thought (3)

Man, I love me some DOS apps. You know, the kind with full-screen text menus, the kind whose documentation is an .exe file? Love. There are whole lost empires of DOS apps out there. Lotta effort slowly degrading on infrequently-visited tape storage. Sic transit, y’know. Sometimes love hurts.

Anyways, I tracked down one of those DOS apps after its reference in that SciAm article (scroll down) in my last post. A certain Rosemary West (straight outta Tha Valley!) hooked up with one “Thomas A. Easton of Belfast, Me.” to put out a “Creativity Package.”  I tracked it down on some phyles site (note: I am not responsible for anything you download from there!)  Works OK on XP or on Win7 with DOSBox.  Unzip it, do a dir *.exe.  thunder.exe and verse.exe are the main programs, the rest are documentation, like:

Man, they sound earnest.  Love.  Anyways, running thunder.exe gets you:

All right!  let’s select poetry:

Hey cool, let’s do it again!

Yep, looks like a template-based generator.

Tell ya what, let’s run verse.exe next:

Yeah, let’s generate some haiku!

Satori!  Now how about some of those poem styles:


Awesome!  Back at verse.exe’s main menu, if you select ‘work with vocabulary’ you get:


Cool!  Looks like you gotta add words one at a time (no batch mode).  And although you can add and edit vocabulary, you can’t edit the templates.  If you could edit the templates, it’d have a functionality like JanusNode, I imagine.

I feel like I should have some opinion about hand-authored template-based poetry generators and ‘model and generate’-based poetry generators.  Like: the template approach offers more coherence, and the model-and-generate approach sacrifices coherence but gets you novelty.  I wish I could quantify the trade-off, but I need to think it over a little more.

Anyway, you can try out Creativity Package here if you’d like.  “As we are, it once was; as it is, so shall we be” lol.  Later!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Rosemary West permalink
    July 11, 2010 12:37 pm

    I am amazed and gratified to learn that people are still using my old DOS programs.

    • February 9, 2011 3:52 pm

      I loved Versifier and Thunder Thought and would love to get my hands on them now. So helpful in breaking writer’s block and coming up with new storms for braining!

    • EJRT permalink
      January 10, 2013 4:40 pm

      I actually used this software in high school, to help with my writing projects. The first thing that I did, as is my tendency, was to wipe the databases and then methodically fill them in with my own words and phrases. This took a bunch of effort, of course, and so I stopped after I hit the bare minimum. This meant that the same often arbitrary entries (such as a fellow named “Hank the Hot Dogger”) kept popping up with a hilarious frequency. Some of this in-mirth later had an effect on the characters and storylines that I used in my early game design.


  1. > Interactive Poetry Generation Systems: an Illustrated Overview

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