Saturday, March 19, 2011

Random poetry idea generator

A quickie for you this morning: my undergraduate workshop was having trouble getting inspired to write poems, and asked me to give them some kind of exercise.  So I made this.

It's pretty simple--just a bit of javascript that chooses one item apiece from three lists: an action, a subject, and a method.  The interesting thing is, I was planning on stopping at fifty items per list, then couldn't stop.  It's up to 273 each now, which means there are more than 20 million possible combinations.  It got to feeling like writing, and I belatedly realized that's what it is.  It's writing!  I am just sacrificing control and sense for the pleasure of constant amusement and inspiration.

If you have some ideas, let me know, I'll add them in the next round of updates.

Also on the web, by the way: the young geniuses at Electric Literature have made a web app that allows you to record stories and pin them to a map.  It's cool, check it out.  And now that my former student Téa Obreht is super famous, you might want to listen to the interview I did with her last year, on the Writers At Cornell blog.

4 comments:

Two Dolls write... said...

I love it!

Anonymous said...

I tried it:

http://htmlgiant.com/random/j-robert-lennons-random-poem-idea-generator/

jrlennon said...

And how!

b said...

JRL,
I've been following the blog for the last couple of years, and enjoy the discussion here, but I've been a little gun-shy when it comes to commenting. I'm in my final year of an MFA program, and I love especially the more pedagogically oriented stuff you post. I've tried to make use of much of it in my first few years of teaching comp and fiction.
I'm not sure if this is the right place for this request, but I was wondering if you could answer a few questions (via email?) about teaching and how it has influenced your writing (and vice versa) for an assignment I have in a Professional Endeavors course. I know you're probably busy with about a billion things at this point in the semester, so if it doesn't work with you, that's cool, but if you have a chance, I'd be super grateful.
Thanks so much for the blog and for your time.

Brendan
brendan dot egan at gmail