The Surrealist Compliment Generator

It’s called The Surrealist Compliment Generator, but click reload and you’ll get another surreal phrase that could launch your next poem. This amusing bit of quirkiness is brought to you by The MadSci Network, an interactive science teaching and community outreach tool, staffed and maintained by volunteer scientists and engineers from around the world.

Click here to try it. Have fun!


May 28, 2021

It has been nearly ten years since we mentioned Sea and Spar Between, the poetry generator created by Nick Montfort and Stephanie Strickland, which uses words from Emily Dickinson’s poems and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The information on the how to read page is very instructive.

There’s technology and mathematics involved here, and if you’re interested in the intersection of poetry and math, definitely have a look at Kaz Maślanka’s site, Mathematical Poetry (use the sidebar to navigate). You might also check out Maślanka’s home page, which is loaded with intriguing maps of that intersection. For example, Verbogeometry: The confluence of words and analytic geometry.

There’s more than one way to make a poem!

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image by Kazmier Maślanka

pantouming post

December 3, 2020

Sometimes it’s just too hard to come up with a timely post and an infographic is the only thing that will suffice. Here from the ever-clever Will Willingham at Tweetspeak Poetry is the down and dirty on How to Write a Pantoum.

Here’s more about the pantoum from And if you’re feeling inspired, try the Jacob Jans pantoum generator. Just add words.

NBA long list

September 21, 2020

The National Book Foundation this week announced the long list of ten poetry books being considered for the 2020 National Book Award. They are:

  • Rick Barot, The Galleons, Milkweed Editions
  • Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, A Treatise on Stars, New Directions
  • Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Travesty Generator, Noemi Press
  • Tommye Blount, Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Four Way Books
  • Victoria Chang, Obit, Copper Canyon Press
  • Don Mee Choi, DMZ Colony, Wave Books
  • Anthony Cody, Borderland Apocrypha, Omnidawn Publishing
  • Eduardo C. Corral, Guillotine, Graywolf Press
  • Natalie Diaz, Postcolonial Love Poem, Graywolf Press
  • Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, The Age of Phillis, Wesleyan University Press

Five finalists will be announced on October 6 and winners will be announced at the invitation-only National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 20 in New York City.

(And of course you knew that when we said NBA we meant National Book Awards, right?)

where you find it

December 10, 2019

Rich Maschner, a fellow participant in the August Poetry Postcard Fest, posted this wonderful found-cork poem on Facebook, reminding us that it has been a while since we posted about found poetry.

Much missed since it ceased publication in 2016, The Found Poetry Review is still available online. If you’re new to found poetry or looking for ways to spark your next project, have a look at the Resources pages.

UNLOST is a journal of found poetry and art.

Air Salt: A Trauma Mémoire as a Result of the Fall (University of Calgary Press) is a new book by Ian Kinney that uses a variety of found materials to comprehend and recover from a seven-story fall.

See Double Press has published a number of exquisite books of erasure poetry by Mary Ruefle, Lia Purpura, and Lawrence Sutin.

digital found poem is a “random poetic text generator.”


(And by the way, it may only be December, but signups are open for the 2020 August Poetry Postcard Fest.)

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photo used with permission

So…along one of the many roads that lead to these posts, there was information about a new poetry walk (a recurring topic) in Newton, Massachusetts. (We posted about another poetry project in Newton five years ago and were glad to see they’re still at it.) The new project has the excellent name Make Poetry Concrete. (Read more here and here.)

Thinking there might be a better photograph than the one from the City of Cambridge, we searched the term Make Poetry Concrete and were happily misdirected to a Concrete Poem Generator. (Poetry generators are another recurring topic.) Thus you have the silly poem-ish pumpkin-shaped image above. So Happy Halloween!


June 23, 2018

It has been a while since we posted prompts, but this selection of 82 Writing Experiments by Bernadette Mayer, found on Language is a Virus, seemed just too good to pass up. While you’re there, check out the Text Manipulation and Text Generators links in the sidebars.

More on Bernadette Mayer here.

the one-minute pantoum

June 8, 2016

Jacob Jans

We love it when poets get tech-y and invent stuff. Jacob Jans, the brains behind the free weekly email magazine, Authors Publish, has now created a Pantoum Generator.

Uncertain about pantoums? Read more from the Academy of American Poets or the Poetry Foundation.

Better yet, learn by doing. Go to the Pantoum Generator and simply start typing. Use the tab key to navigate between lines. The basic setup gives you four stanzas, but you can add more. As you write, the program inserts the pantoum’s repeated lines in the right place. When you’re done, click the Get Poem button and your pantoum will show up in the bottom window, where you can copy it for pasting elsewhere.

Anyone can do it.

okay let’s try this
put a few words on each line
act as if you’re writing a poem
always hoping the meaning will rise

put a few words on each line
before dawn is the best time
always hoping the meaning will rise
as the sun reaches the crest of Alabama hill

before dawn is the best time
pencils sharpened with spider webs
as the sun reaches the crest of Alabama hill
coffee sheened with hope

pencils sharpened with spider webs
okay let’s try this
coffee sheened with hope
act as if you’re writing a poem

what wrote that poem?

February 8, 2015

Zackary Scholl

Zackary Scholl, a PhD candidate in computational biology, has “developed another kind of artificial intelligence. This AI can create poetry indistinguishable from real poets.” The results are quite remarkable and Scholl has put his poems to what he calls “the Turing Test”: can they get published in literary journals?

Visit his blog, Raspberry PI AI, to read the story. You’ll find poems (including links to some of Scholl’s early submissions) and even a one-click poem generator!
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special thanks to Margaret Bikman for the heads-up on this news!

another poetry walk

January 12, 2014

mesostic poem: BAYLEAFTREEThe Ministry of Stories is a creative writing and mentoring center for young people in east London. Burgess Studio is a London-based design agency. St Mary’s Secret Garden is a horticultural project in Hackney, London: “a peaceful oasis in the middle of a very busy area of the capital.”

The three entities converged in spring 2013, when 14 local children worked with Burgess Studio and poets Malika Booker and Rachel Rose Reid to create a poetry trail in the garden. The trail is marked by mesostic poems (a form explored most notably by John Cage) written by the children.

For more on the garden, visit the Ministry of Stories and Burgess Studio. For more fun with mesostics, try Nicki Hoffman’s mesostic generator, P.S.: Meso. For more on poetry walks, visit our poetry walk archive.
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