I’m beginning to understand the exultation of spam-lords, the rapturous power narcotic that arises from watching thousands of words of perhaps-dubious quality arise & spew in a rapid unreadable scrawl across a screen.
Beyond semantics, words like sperm procreate incessantly in abundant sementics. Quality in this inverted world is a quantity.
On the technical side: today, I fixed the repetition hatching; used pattern.en to correct articles (like ‘an’ or ‘a’) and conjugate correct verb participles (as in ‘I’m walking home…’); and created FAKE_authors (because who wants to read a poem written by a bot…unless it’s good, which these poems are not yet).
Nest Girl: Allergic Tales Dogs Bottom Kill Toucan Life by Johannes Mackowski
An attack to excuse the latter transition of the Earth’s rising up by mutagenesis Now in functioning caption of Lyell: caveat emptor of Geology The ben clearway tight end on the QT, Broken dust in the abyss where The viaduct lave out days agone. Continue reading “Another 10k day”
I received an email today from a friend who is a poet named Ian Hatcher; his email included an MP3 of himself reading a poem I had generated using code that was a bit broken .
Ian Hatcher reads “woodland_pattern”
I sent this particular poem to Ian because it included a lot of repetition; Ian’s style involves repetition, productive repetitions, calibrated repetitions, sung repetitions, drone repetitions, blind repetitions, profound repetitions.
To my mind the repetition was a bug; from the perspective of efficient communication, a repeated word is an inefficient redundant symbol. In my mind, an ancient mantra chanted: effective text is succinct and to the point. But Hatcher’s work (among others) reminds me of the parallel/opposite tradition of trance ritual (incantation incantation incantation …) appropriated by post-modern poetics. Time does not matter: matter cycles.
Poetry belongs to both traditions (efficient condensation and redundant trance-inducing repetition). It is both a sustainment of affective efficient communication where redundancy is reduced and it is also a mode of being that involves states of consciousness invoked by rhythm and repetition.
Repetition is exactly what my code started churning out unexpectedly today after I made an error in how I dealt with 2 letter prepositions followed by punctuation. So I generated 10k+ poems in that style.
A computer-generated stanza
predictably, aluminum business and USDA diverge diverge diverge and the deflagration catapult sow in the sagas van chicken farm carnival carnival carnival with shallot desktop and radicchio
Augmented humans have existed since the first horse was tamed, since fire was carried in coals slung in a goat’s bladder lined with moss and pebbles; since the first toilet was born in a rock’s gullet.
Run a car down with a a bicycle. Chase a sprinter with an airplane. Make a nuclear bomb with matches. I dare you.
Welcome the cyber poet. Touch it’s silicon tongue, algorithm-rich, drenched in data. Obligatory obliteration.
Keep in mind, the results emerge from recipes. I am not the best chef in the world. This is mere crawling. But it is instinct which suggests a path, a motion and a blur over the meaning of creativity. Symbiosis.
OK. Parsing. Prosody. Metre. Rhythm. It seems prehistoric in the age of free-verse. But if poems are rhythm with/or/without rhyme then parsing into metrical feet seems one precondition on the path of accurately generating poems. Unfortunately, as far as I could tell, few folks have done it. A google search returned a few academic papers and no code. There was one stackoverflow question. So I wrote an email to Charles Hartman who had written Virtual Muse, who kindly replied : “I’ve been away from programming for quite a while. But by the end of this year Wiley-Blackwell will be publishing my textbook Verse: An Introduction to Prosody…” So I did it myself.
INPUT WORDS >>> OUTPUT NUMBERS: An Example
If by real you mean as real as a shark tooth stuck
‘1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1’
in your heel, the wetness of a finished lollipop stick,
# function that takes a line
# parses it for stress
# corrects the cmudict bias toward 1
# and returns two strings
# 'stress' in form '0101*,*110110'
# --Note: 'stress' also returns words not in cmudict '0101*,*1*zeon*10110'
# 'stress_no_punct' in form '0101110110'
In my amateur-quest, to retrieve some archive that might have a semblance of approaching moderately large data for a poetry analysis project, I imagined OpenLibrary.org might offer an opportunity to download some poetry that is in the open domain. My first encounter was not encouraging. Thousands of the books listed there under poetry are distributed by the library of congress under what is know as a DAISY lock which requires a key to open and is only accessible to the blind. Imagine a library where a significant portion of the books are locked shut. Aaron Schwartz would not be amused.
Word counting is the ‘Hello World’ of big data. And my data is relatively tiny.
Below are 25 images in 5 increasing small time scales for 5 different variables (line length, verse length, avg word length, # of words per poem, # of verses per poem) derived from an analysis of a corpus of 10.5k poems scraped from poetryfoundation.org.
Recursive Deep Models for Semantic Compositionality Over a Sentiment Treebank, Richard Socher, Alex Perelygin, Jean Wu, Jason Chuang, Chris Manning, Andrew Ng and Chris Potts. Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP 2013, Oral). pdf;Website with Live Demo and Downloads
Recursive Deep Models for Semantic Compositionality Over a Sentiment Treebank by Socher et al. introduces Recursive Neural Tensor Network (RNTN), a model for extracting sentiment from longer phrases that outperforms previous models. The model is trained on a corpus of 215,154 phrases that were labelled using Amazon Turk. Using RNTN, single sentence accuracy increases from 80% up to 85.4%; and negation is accurately captured (a task no previous model succeeded at).
I’ve been spending some hours this weekend reviewing math at the amazing Khan Academy. The following reflection is meant as a contemplation of a trend and not in any way a critique of their valuable work.
Consider the screenshot below: where the value assigned to IAK of 66º does not accurately reflect it’s value. Both angles IAK and GCJ, if measured with a tool like a compass, are 45º angles. Yet IAK is labelled 66º and the correct answer to the angle GCJ is 24º. It does not seem like an important mislabelling, yet there is a fundamental conceptual issue at stake here. And it has a relation to poetry (perhaps tenuous) but it’s an issue of trust. As Tom Waits said: “The large print giveth, the small print taketh away”. Exactly as here: where the faint inscription at the bottom states: “Note: Angles not necessarily drawn to scale.”