Friday, June 7, 2013

Can a Robot tell whether a Poet's a Pro?

Man, I doubt it.  But when I saw this, I had to try it out:

Poetry Assessor
The application is designed to determine whether a poem has the characteristics of a professional poem or, alternatively, an amateur poem... To score your poem, copy and paste the poem into the text box and click the Calculate button. Positive scores indicate that a poem has characteristics of a professional poem while negative scores indicate that the poem has the characteristics of an amateur poem. 

First one I tried pasting in, a rhyming poem about Leprechauns, got a +0.12 -- barely on the "pro" side of neutral.  I tried a non-rhyming poem, and got a 2.2 (almost as pro as Sylvia Plath!), then another rhyming poem (about death), getting a -1.5.  One more, not rhyming, and I beat Sylvia with a 2.5.

So I gave up.

Give it a click and try it yourself!

The method the computer program uses to analyze whether a poem "has the characteristics of a professional poem" is described in a pdf here. (Actually, if you're interested in linguistic analysis, their discussion of how they did their analysis to determine what characteristics successful poems had compared to amateur poems is quite fascinating.  Even if the "Analyze my Poem" application is more of a party game for poets than a real tool for telling good from bad.)


Marge said...

I'm very curious, so I'll definitely be looking at this again tomorrow, Geoff!

Mary Turzillo said...

It is so easy to game. I "revised" a poem of mine to go from -0.4 to + 0.4 simply by removing all multisyllabic words. The poem gained another point when I removed the word F-K. (I'm not going to write the word here, because maybe the bot will censor me.

Azriel Johnson said...

I entered in my assonance poem and got a 0.2. Yay professional! --Az


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau