Transcoding Literature

Project Proposal 1: Generative Seasonal Poetry


I want to explore generative literature through two separate lenses: situational generators and linguistic generators. Situational signifies an open, organic system that can freely change based on the data sets that are being aggregated in real-time. Linguistic generators are closed analytic structures, such as Taroko Gorge, a generative poetry project by MIT’s Nick Montfort.

I am still in the process of aggregating data for a situational generator through Twitter, so my first project focus will be creating a linguistic generator to get a baseline understanding of how poetry can be generated to convey a theme. Success for me in this context will be to generate poetry that is accessible to the reader, meaning not just a bunch of random words, but phrases that create real connections through chance.

Generative Seasonal Poetry

My subject focus will be the seasonal shifts in Colorado signified by the blossoming trees and flowers. A modest attempt at representing this concept is in my new rendition of Taroko Gorge.

Initially, I want to create a more robust version of this poem to capture the month of May. To accurately capture the state of any plant or tree during May, I will be aggregating data on 20 different species and their predictive seasonal appearances during this month.

To further this project, I would like to create a 365 day poetry calendar that tracks the seasonal shifts of these 20 plants, along with their current colors and varieties of birds and animals that may interact with them on any given day.The result should be a poem that illustrates a depiction of what the reader may witness in the Colorado wilderness. Live data from weather would be a great addition to this code, but that would shift the project into a situational generator, which is my second project proposal.


Seasonal Poetry


Seasonal Poetry for Colorado – Iteration: 1  / Based on Taroko Gorge generative poetry project.

Taroko Gorge – Sample

Working on modifying a poetry generator started at MIT called Taroko Gorge. Here are a few sample lines that it has written on it’s own:


Cultures control the writing.
Truths ignore.
Sages seek the writings.
  ride the worldly destructive narrative story —
Sages grasp the writings.
Sages depart.
Sage controls the depth.
  avoid the impermanent loathsome destructive —