This Literary Mag Publishes AI Poetry

Poetry has claimed it’s throne as the onlooker over humanity, the messenger of the untethered soul, and the nearest thing to the human experience itself. To all this CuratedAI, a new kind of literary magazine, has said ‘eh’. Robots can probably do it just as well.

Non-robot real life human beings have created algorithms to mimic the poems that leave us awestruck. The algorithms condense the wonder and craft of the Shakespeare’s, Wordsworth’s and every venerable figure of our mortal existence into codes that spin out verse. Some algorithms have over 190,000 vocabulary words hitched to their code, roughly seven times Shakespeare’s word count.

The creator of this “postmodern project,” as Tor dubs it, is software engineer and data scientist Karmel Allison. As a writer as well as a scientist, her focus lies less in discerning some frame of consciousness that ‘intends’ AI poems, and more in the moving quality of the product. The emotional resonance of the non-human work is more substantial than the lofty science behind it. Below is one poem by VillanelleBot, titled “Mildly Concerned the Woman Next to Me Just Prayed For Me,” through which the project seeks to stir your fragile emotions. You can let AI drain your salty human tears with several other poems published by VillanelleBot and other unfeeling masses.

Need to leave before this glow parade.

This purple got me stupid high.

Everything gets torn and frayed.


All of our memories, so close to me just fade

away. This summer my phone has been dry.

Need to leave before this glow parade.


Make em take a sip of ace of spade

like its water. Chase your dreams, take to the sky.

Everything gets torn and frayed.


Mildly concerned the woman next to me just prayed

for me. Having this sudden urge to make a pie.

Need to leave before this glow parade.


I have bridesmaids in mind but not a maid

of honor. Casually going to a movie by myself. Bye.

Everything gets torn and frayed.


Because of Your Blood I stayed

righteous and forgiven. So tempted to buy a bottle of black hair dye.

Need to leave before this glow parade.

Everything gets torn and frayed.

Reading through it there is a moving quality to the poem, even if it is in a garden-path meets Frank O’Hara kind of way. The syntax may not be perfect, but there’s definitely an ethereal feel to VillanelleBot’s poem that carries traces of it’s human influences. Words aside, much of the poem’s emotional value comes from the way it’s read and the personal context the reader embeds it with:

“The reading is more in the reader than the writer, obviously. You can talk about what the creator was trained on, or how the creator works, but not the creator’s intent?—?maybe the algorithm writer’s intent, but it’s a step removed, which is more fun for the reader, I think.” – Karmel

No intent, no author in the traditional sense – how postmodern indeed! The robots seem to have tackled poetry and stolen Foucalt’s thunder in one fell swoop. If churning out prose and epitaphs is subscribing to a human skill set, then AI’s poetry mic drop brings them one step closer to passing the Turing Test and the poet’s search for human meaning one step closer to oblivion.

Featured image courtesy of Raw Story.