When I first began working on digital found poem, I was trying to create a random poetry generator that tossed tens of thousands of snippets of language (words, phrases, clauses) into the air and then dropped them programmatically onto the computer screen in an unending stream of digitally created stanzaic text that was worth the reading. Good luck!
After years of trying, it became clear that a totally random poetry generator would never be able to generate readable text. So what to do? Give up? Or see if by imposing a heavy dose of order, I could improve the quality of this text? And you guessed it--much more order and much less randomness is what I chose for.
And as consequence, the stanzaic text that digital found poem generates these days is much more readable than it was before and is perhaps even enjoyable for those who take it for what it is--computer generated fauxpoetry.
If you're a poetry teacher and are looking for a way to spice up your poetry writing class or workshop, digital found poem may be of help. Let students play with digital found poem, shaping and molding words and lines that they see poetic potential in and discarding the rest. (Think cut ups, erasure poems, blackout/redacted poems, found poems, and so on.)* For a beginning poet, a few minutes of tinkering with text provided may be a more enjoyable and productive way to start each writing day than to have to stare at that proverbial blank page and hope that somehow the words will come.
*For an interesting take on the value of cut ups, erasures, etc, see the @heteroglossia blog entry for February 17, 2019, which (in part) says:
...Cut up, erasure, projectivist, free verse — many of these forms and schools, by taking verse, lines, conceits from past works, force us to see the intertextual nature that constitutes all writing. When, say, one “cuts,” rearranges, or erases a poem to bring to light another, possible poem, one illuminates the infinite possibility of language, the infinity of language. The poem lying in wait behind (or above, or to the left or right of) the poem...
Digital found poem is really just a gigantic "cut up." But instead of cutting up a single existing work, it cuts up the English language into selected words, phrases, and clauses. It then rearranges these language parts programmatically into an infinite variety of never-before-seen stanzaic text that students can play with to find/create a new poem that may be "lying in wait behind (or above, or to the left or right of" the digitally generated text.
Digital found poem UI
The user interface (UI) of digital found poem looks as follows. Click the generate new text button and you'll get completely new text to read or play with.
Found poem UI
Download digital found poem
Digital found poem is an extremely simple, single-file text editor (think Windows Notepad) that won't add cookies, mess with your registry, or collect any personal information. If you download it and it's not to your liking, you can delete it in one second with a single click.
Note 1: Digital found poem is programmed for Windows PCs/tablets only and it won't work on mobile phones. And it will only work on a Mac or other operating systems if they can run Windows.
Note 2: Although digital found poem doesn't contain "four-letter" words, it's intended for a mature audience. Its dark and adult themes make it inappropriate for those too young for all that misery. For an explanation of why digital found poem is so dark, see the how text is generated page.
To see digital found poem in action, download it by clicking download digital found poem(Updated January 1, 2022). For download instructions if you need them or to see an explanation of warning message you may receive, see thedownload infopage.