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Melville Dickinson Poetry Mashup By MIT Faculty Member

Seaandspar

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/23/10 08:14 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:20 PM ET

An MIT faculty member partnered with a poet to publish a so-called poetry generator, which uses language from the work of Emily Dickinson and Melville's "Moby-Dick." The project, dubbed "Sea and Spar Between," allows users to browse a vast body of words used by both Dickinson and Meville to form new stanzas of poetry.

The MIT faculty member responsible, Nick Montford, said about the project:

The human/analog element involved jointly selecting small samples of words from the authors' lexicons and inventing a few ways of generating lines. We did this not quantitatively, but based on our long acquaintance with the distinguishing textual rhythms and rhetorical gestures of Melville and Dickinson.

The project is self-defined as:

"Sea and Spar Between is a poetry generator which defines a space of language populated by a number of stanzas comparable to the number of fish in the sea, around 225 trillion. Each stanza is indicated by two coordinates, as with latitude and longitude. They range from 0 : 0 to 14992383 : 14992383."

So, what does the poetry look like?

Stanzas include:

  • "turn on / paradise! morning! / turn on / nailed to the deck"
  • "one sky one friend one place one grass / blameless move and move / fix upon the pinkdrum course / then artless is the sea"

Will you check the project out? Let us know your reactions in the comments section below.

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