Made in Roath 2016

Made in Roath 2016

Thursday, 18 June 2015

What are our poems?

In the journal of R.W. Emerson, there is an entry dated from September 1842, It reads

“Milnes brought Carlyle to the railway, and showed him the departing trains. Carlyle looked at these and then said, “These are our poems, Milnes". Milnes ought to have answered, “Aye, and our histories Carlyle”. 

I’ve always been quite fond of that passage, I think it displays an interesting insight into the Victorian psyche. It’s very easy to forget that the Victorains lived in an industrious age of steam and the advancement of technology on a level never before seen. This is why Turner painted Rain, Steam and Speed, Turner wasn’t painting steam trains because they were quite nice, quaint old subjects but the very cutting age of technology, they were the space shuttles of their day. It was this spirit of industrial revolution that also saw John Martin depicting Pandemonium in Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost as an industrial train station. The industry of the day inspired and drove some of the artists of the Victorian age.

 But what are our poems? Like the Victorians we are currently living in a world undergoing a pandemonius shift in technology and life. Think of the world you knew 20 years ago and now think of it today, the computer, digital system and world wide web has transformed the Western world. We live in our own digital revolution so how shall we construct our poems.

 Why don’t we use a Markov Chain, if you are unfamiliar with such a device, a Markov Chain is a computer chain when applied to a text produces a semi jumble of the source text. In short computer poetry.

So what text should we input, how about if we feed in the favourite poems of some the organisers of Made in Roath, Solstice festival. If we type in “Her Birth” by Rebecca Goss chosen by Christina, the closing pages of “Martin Eden” by Jack London chosen by Becca, Helen’s choice of “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Oscar Wilde, Gail’s choice of “A Dog has died” by Pablo Neruda and my choice, rather predicable “If” by Rudyard Kipling. 

 Which the Markov Chain gives us 

"An talk with word about your winterialist, who never serve your beginnings
   But make a trap for my knee
like other.

This mourn.

From hope and I buried his the Earth,
So now he's gone and not make a vain at your virtue,   
    And yet don’t dead manners and hungry. Instead
carpet, fireplace, neat those eyes so much purer that’s in it,   Twisted old machine.
of having lose, and stoop and fear servile.
There are no good, nor their doubt you,
    Or being hated, don’t 

If you can keep your heart and fear set free, 
We thank with the autonomy
of theirs and never; 
That now and never breathe voltage of the sky
and not be tired by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or being lied him,
and the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping lied about your winnings you can make allowance for fools, this be outcasts always to them: ‘Hold on!’

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be tired by knaves" 

    Computer generated poetry, what do you think? what are your poems?
 Thank you for reading. Have a great weekend, Dai 

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