Eileen R. Tabios is a poet working in multiple genres and in-between. She also loves books by writing, reading, publishing, critiquing, romancing and advocating for them. This blog will feature her bibliophilic activities with posts on current book engagements and links to her books and projects related to books.

Monday, June 9, 2014


The MDR Poetry Generator is part of my manuscript MURDER, DEATH & RESURRECTION.  I've brought its creation this far after much discussion with three poets whose math expertise exceed mine, a husband of one of the poets who started the discussion strong before lapsing to his chauffeuring duty, my son who just finished Algebra 2, my husband who is excellent at math (he once thought he might be a mathematician until an elementary school classmate blew him away; said classmate later ended up heading the nuclear physics department of some hotshot institution whose name I won't drop) but whose memory of such is affected by an overfull mental disk drive, and then finally a local community tutor in math & science.  With their help, we have determined that the MDR Poetry Generator is capable of generating a gazillion maximum number of poems -- the number is so huge that the most capable of our group, the local tutor, could only use "an approximation formula" to quantify the number.  His approximation?  The MDR Poetry Generator's maximum number of poems is a number with 3,110 digits.

I'm sorry.  I go as far as million then billion then trillion ... what do you call a number with 3,110 digits?  Anyone?

That above number, by the way, encompasses poems with a minimum two lines and a maximum of 1,146 lines. 

The next step?  I've just knocked on the door of a fella who won the Nobel Prize equivalent in electrical engineering.  If anyone can specify -- rather than approximate -- the number of possible poems from the MDR Poetry Generator, it'd be this guy....I'll update when there's an update.

The MDR Poetry Generator actually reflects my interest in "abstract language" (and its applications) going back to my first poetry book BEYOND LIFE SENTENCES and then my first U.S.-published poetry book REPRODUCTIONS OF THE EMPTY FLAGPOLE -- which is to say, I've been inclined in this direction for almost as long as I've been a poet.  But it wasn't until I discovered Nick Montfort's and Stephanie Strickland's Sea and Spar Between poetry generator capable of presenting 225 trillion stanzas that I thought to explore the poetry-generator idea.

Stephanie even did a tercet-generator -- with a published book V Wave Tercets / Losing L'una with a FREE poetry app! -- with Ian Thatcher.  I cite these other projects because there are people who've created poetry generators out there (Brian Kim Stefans comes to mind too).  I believe some create programs for such ...

But I do it my way, which is manually (and with plenty of blood).  To quote/paraphrase/reference Tom Beckett, "I am not a robot."   The downside, though, is that I'm forced to consider calculations way above my pay grade (so to speak).  But it's all good and I've got practice -- in Poetry, I'm usually addressing what I do not know.

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