Future Poetry?

A couple of weeks ago, Google created an app that generates poems. The Poem Portraits app is an experiment at the boundaries of AI and human collaboration. By donating a word, the user of the poem portrait contributes to an ever-evolving collective poem and receives a poem portrait. It sounded interesting, so The Mire tried it out! Here are some of the results (words donated in bold):

  • The cake and stream are lost in passion, your love be gone. The night is under the clouds.
  • This beam above them stands at the sight, the compassion.
  • A cupcake, moi rose, and the common stream were broken.
  • Beautiful as the sun in the deep, frivolous of the air, when the wind blows the sun.
  • That meat from the winds, your people enter on the stream of the soul.

We also tried to generate poems multiple times with the same word.

  • The summer wind was blooming in their path, this genesis of the sight of his character.
  • Our summer breaths with heavenly souls of sorrow, the hello of the power of the battle.

These poems all have one thing in common. No matter what the meaning, the poems have the features of the stream of consciousness, alternating ways of abstract and figurative expression, as well as the use of personification. These poems somewhat have a “template” that simply fill in the blanks. On one hand, this process decreases the difficulty of writing poems, so that even an AI could do the job; on the other hand, the lower difficulty lowers the level of the poem itself. There are some grammar mistakes that we do not know are intentional or not. But, it kind of has a special way of capturing a fleeting glimpse of emotion (maybe even the AI emotion).

One of the preciousness of human poets is that they have the logic and ideology of their life. And I love to read poems not only because of their unique artistic conception but also because of the author’s philosophy behind them. A poem is a vessel that helps poets shape their thoughts.

AI cannot completely substitute a human poet— at least in the near future— whose individual thoughts and writing style are irreplaceable. Read some of my favorite lines below (and I tried to match some of the same word choices as the ones created by Google). I hope you enjoy reading these:

  • Once, if I remember well,

my life was a feast where all hearts opened and all wines flowed. A Season in Hell, Arthur Rimbaud

  • It would be fun if these stars guffawed-

But the universe is a dull place. Definition of Poetry, Boris Pasternak

  • The dance along the artery

The circulation of the lymph

Are figured in the drift of stars

Ascend to summer in the tree. Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot

  • This evening’s light is golden bright,

The April’s coolness is so tender,

Though you are many years too late,

I still do welcome you to enter. This evening’s light is golden bright, Anna Akhmatova

  • They’re both convinced that a sudden passion joined them.

Such certainty is beautiful,

but uncertainty is more beautiful still. Love at First Sight, Wislawa Szymborska