Hi there. We’re just a bunch of people who write poetry using computer programs. These programs often work by reading an existing text (such as a set of poems, novels, essays, emails, etc.), building a representation of the text’s word use, and using that representation to generate new poems. Sometimes some other kind of processing takes place instead.
There’s a (relatively) long tradition of using automatic methods to generate poetry. Today, there are a number of ways that poets use computers to create poetry. On this site we focus on the practice and theory of text poetry generation using computer programs that do things like:
- generate poetry from a language model built from an existing text
- generate poetry from a set of rules or templates
- modify an existing poem by substituting, removing, or inserting words or characters
- allow a human user to participate in various parts of the processes above
Many of the programs use n-gram language models, which count sequences of words. You can read more about that in this overview for poets or a more computational description or the relevant wikipedia article.
We use a number of different programs, and are always finding, appropriating, or programming more. See the Illustrated Guide to Interactive Poetry Generators for a full list of the types of programs we use (with numerous screencaps!) As of mid-2011 these are the most commonly used here:
|Gnoetry||Linux (Python module, GUI app)||Gnoetry is an interactive word n-gram generator. The blog is named after this program. Its code is no longer maintained and can be tricky to install; you may want to try using jGnoetry below, but this information is kept for your amusement.
|eGnoetry||Web (Java applet)||eGnoetry is a subset/variant of Gnoetry. It’s been superseded by jGnoetry, but is kept around for your amusement.|
|n+7||Web (server-side PHP)||generate Oulipo-style “n+1” through “n+15” texts
|weltanschauung||perl command-line app||generates burroughs-style cut-ups from large corpora text|
|prosaic||node.js command-line app||generates burroughs-style cut-ups from large corpora of text
|ePoGeeS||Web (Java applet)||ePoGeeS is a Poetry Generation Sketchbook that generates bigrams evaluated by stochastic beam search using phoneme-based evaluation|
|Mchain||Windows, Mac, Linux (C++ /Python command-line app)||An n-gram generator:|
|JanusNode||Windows, Mac (GUI app)||Generates from templates, build and generate from n-gram models, do string-replacements and poetic text transformations:|
|Infinite Monkeys||Windows, BSD (GUI app)||Rule-based and n-gram generator.
It’s called “Gnoetry Daily” because Elshtain was using Gnoetry when he started the blog and was thinking of generating something every day. Then eRoGK7 took over, and he and Matthew were using Mchain as well as Gnoetry. Then eddeaddad joined and he used even more programs but luckily the others were OK with it. We kept the name for historical reasons. Yeah, we know, it’s not just Gnoetry and it’s usually not Daily…
And Gnoetry is…?
If you want to know more about Gnoetry 0.2 in particular, see this interview with Eric Elshtain at Writer Response Theory or a post called Gnoetry 0.2 and the Transcendence of the Human Poetic at womenwriters.net. Also enlightening are welcome to the machine on Fluid/Exchange, Mechanical Production on the Culture Industry blog, a podcast of an interview with Eric Elshtain on blogtalkradio. Scovel’s Gnoetry chapbook was discussed on grand text auto. Gnoetry 1-2-3 Michel S describes setting up Gnoetry, and a National Poetry Month produced a feature on Beard of Bees press and Gnoetry. Read about Gnoetry in mid rib issue 2 or in hello Gnoetry on Pigafetta, Poetry, and Painkillers blog.
Basically, Gnoetry is a computer program such as jGnoetry, eGnoetry, or python-on-linux-Gnoetry, which uses generation and interactive re-generation of poems from an n-gram language model built on pre-existing source texts such as novels, poems, or news articles. The term is often used to refer to the poetry that is produced by such programs. It doesn’t mean poetry generation in general, in fact many poems on this site were written in programs other than Gnoetry.
To some extent we explore methodologies as Oulipo did, but we don’t mind randomness or surrealists, and often we also want to produce expressive poems (or at least poems that are open to a multiplicity of readings.) Conceptualists talk about how computation and data has affected poetry, but we just take that as obvious. Some of our poems produce unusual and irreverent juxtapositions like the Flarf poets, but that’s just one possibility we explore. Digital Poets tend to create generative interfaces whose purpose is to make a statement to a general audience, while our generators tend to be idiosyncratic tools focused on our authoring needs, and our focus is on the poems output rather than on the generators.
Actually, each of us on the blog has a different agenda; generally we just want to write good poetry.
A bunch of creative-writing and programmer types. And you! Yes you, kind reader, are welcome to join in! Make comments, try out the programs, and if you want to post, email eRoGK (gmail account: escovel).