Not yet created
But when I sleep in dreams they
Sail of his great verse
So, it's National Poetry Month.
And I'm a geek.
But, I'm a creative(ish) geek, and I wanted to generate a sonnet this month. Not "write" a sonnet - that's not along the directions of any talents I have. Instead, I intended to write a program that would spit out candidate text conforming with the constraints of a formal kind of poetry.
My first inclination was to generate a sonnet somehow, complete with the rhyme scheme that Shakespeare used in his sonnets. Also, Iambic pentameter. Cause that's poetry. I was thinking of sifting through my LJ posts, treating it as a long stream of text, cutting it into lines of 10 syllables, filtering those for the right cadence, and then pairing up rhyming lines.
That's a lot of work, and I've been busy.
Plan B was to punt on the sonnet form. I had made some progress on pulling down my posts and could have found some lines matching the beat of a sonnet. But I was worried that I wouldn't have enough to make an entire sonnet, much less one that actually flowed. So, I thought about walking through a bunch of Project Gutenberg's public domain literature and generate a limerick. A lot more source material, a substantially simpler rhyme scheme, but still way too much work.
Plan C was to grab Shakespeare's sonnets (only 154 of them), cut them into chunks of 5 and 7 syllables, and jam them together willy-nilly into haiku. (And, at this point, I'd say that they aren't really haiku - haiku have a seasonal word in them and are often about nature. Senryu have the same 5/7/5 structure, but are more about human foibles. These don't even fit that description.)
So, that's how I came up with the verse at the top of the post. The program spat out 100 candidates, most of them were unacceptable. The worst problem - and one I could fix - was that the lines joined up poorly, and sometimes ended in mid-phrase. For example:
night by day oppressed
i have confessed that he is
lust in action and
... which has interesting elements. The lust/confessed pair seems meaningful, but the verse as a whole fails to seem like something that a person would write.
Perhaps I'll come back to this project and try to get more legible strings of words. Perhaps I'll actually get rhyming and meter in.
Or, perhaps, I'll wait until next April for National Poetry Month 2009.