A Poem For Saturday

May 19 2012 @ 6:35pm

Screen shot 2012-05-16 at 10.11.15 AM

Twitter user @Pentametron is gathering iambic pentameter tweets:

Meet Pentametron. He’s a robotic Twitter account, but he’s not part of the spam variety – he turns tweets into Shakespeare-like poetry, using an algorithm to seek out and retweet the most poetic of our 140-character musings.

Creator Ranjit Bhatnagar explains how the algorithm works:

If it knows all the words, it checks the [Carnegie Mellon University dictionary] dictionary for the stress patterns of the words, which add up to the rhythm of the tweet. If the rhythm seems to match the pattern of iambic pentameter, the tweet goes into a bin of potential lines of poetry. On average, about one in every 50,000 tweets qualifies.

Bhatnagar takes inspiration from the the surrealists, but with a modern spin:

It's fascinating to me that on the internet of free phone and video calls, one of the most popular sites just moves words around. Lots and lots of words. One of the goals of Pentametron is to show how weird and interesting this giant flood of language is.