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Abstract illustration of a quill pen on a computer keyboard symbolozing a potry generator.

Poetry Machine

Generate a custom poem based on your preferred structure, rhyme, and tone to match your mood or message.

How to Use the Poetry Machine to Experiment With and Learn About Poetry

The Poetry Machine is a digital tool designed to create personalized, customized, mechanized poems. It allows you to specify the structure, rhyme, and tone of the poem, ensuring the final product resonates with a mood or message you hope to convey. Below is a short guide on how to use the Poetry Machine, including explanations of each selectable option and how to avoid potential conflicts when creating your custom poem.

Subject/Theme

The Subject/Theme field is the foundation of your poem. It is where you define the central concept, idea, or narrative that your poem will explore. This could range from a specific event to an abstract concept or emotion. When entering information into this field, be clear and concise, but also allow room for creative interpretation. Here are some guidelines:

  • Be Specific: Instead of “love”, try “first love’s innocence” or “love’s sorrow in autumn”.
  • Invoke Imagery: Use phrases that conjure images, such as “the whispering pines” or “city’s heartbeat”.
  • Evoke Emotion: Use themes that naturally carry emotional weight, like “solitude in the crowd” or “joy of spring’s arrival”.
  • Include Action: If your poem tells a story, incorporate action into the theme, such as “the chase through fog” or “dancing under the stars”.

Here are some examples and inspirations for themes that can be entered into the Poetry Machine:

  • Personal Experience: “Overcoming my fears” or “Reflections on my graduation day”.
  • Nature and Seasons: “Winter’s silent night”, “Blossoms in the spring wind”, or “Crimson leaves of fall”.
  • Philosophical Ideas: “The search for truth” or “Contemplating freedom’s cost”.
  • Historical or Cultural Events: “Voices of the Civil Rights Movement” or “The Renaissance awakening”.
  • Daily Observations: “Morning rush in the subway” or “The stillness of the library”.
  • Love and Relationships: “Whirlwind summer romance” or “The quiet strength of enduring love”.
  • Myth and Legends: “Echoes of Ancient Greek myths” or “Norse gods’ twilight”.
  • Fantasy and Wonder: “Journey through a land of magic” or “Whispers from a fairy realm”.

Type of Poem

Choose a form that fits your content and desired expression. Each form comes with its conventions:

  • Sonnet: A 14-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and meter.
  • Haiku: A three-line poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5.
  • Free Verse: A poem with no specific rhyme or meter.
  • Limerick: A humorous five-line poem with a specific rhythm and an AABBA rhyme scheme.
  • Ode: A form of poetry that is lyrical in nature but not very lengthy.
  • Villanelle: A 19-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains.
  • Acrostic: A poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word or message.
  • Ghazal: A poem composed of couplets, which share a refrain and an internal rhyme.

Rhyme Scheme

After selecting the type of poem, choose a rhyme scheme that complements it. The rhyme scheme is the pattern by which the end words of lines rhyme. For example, “ABAB” denotes a four-line stanza in which the first and third lines rhyme, as do the second and fourth.  Keep in mind that when you select a rhyme shcheme it may conflict with the poem type if selected.

Tone

The tone of a poem is the attitude or emotional ambiance that envelops the text. It sets the stage for the readers, guiding their emotional response and connecting them to the deeper layers of meaning within the poem. When you choose a tone for your poem, you’re selecting the voice and mood that will color every word and image.

Here are some additional descriptors to consider when setting the tone for your poem:

  • Wistful: A longing or yearning tone that often reflects a melancholic or nostalgic state.
  • Solemn: A grave, very serious, and somber tone, suitable for topics of great importance or reverence.
  • Bittersweet: A tone that captures the simultaneous presence of both sadness and joy, often reflecting on sweet memories tinged with sorrow.
  • Ecstatic: An intensely joyful or exuberant tone, full of enthusiasm and excitement.
  • Irreverent: A tone that shows a lack of respect for things that are generally taken seriously.
  • Contemplative: A thoughtful and reflective tone, often introspective, considering deeper questions or ideas.
  • Sardonic: A tone marked by mocking or cynical humor, often used to express scorn or ridicule.
  • Whimsical: Light-hearted and fanciful, with a playful or fanciful tone that often invokes humor or fantasy.

Meter

Meter in poetry is the structured pattern of rhythm, typically denoted by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables in a verse. Let’s explore the key differences between the specified meter types.

Iambic Pentameter

  • Iambic: A metrical foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (da-DUM).
  • Pentameter: Five metrical feet per line.
  • Example: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
  • Why Choose: Iambic Pentameter is the most common meter in English poetry, particularly in Shakespearean sonnets. It closely mimics natural speech rhythms, making it suitable for storytelling and dramatic monologues.

Free Verse

  • Free Verse: Does not adhere to any strict meter or rhyme scheme.
  • Flexibility: Allows for varied rhythm and line lengths.
  • Example: Walt Whitman’s poetry often employs free verse.
  • Why Choose: Free Verse is chosen for its versatility and freedom. It’s ideal for conveying a more conversational tone or when the poet wants to break break free from metrical constraints to create a more organic flow.

Trochaic Tetrameter

  • Trochaic: A metrical foot with a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable (DUM-da).
  • Tetrameter: Four metrical feet per line.
  • Example: “Double, double toil and trouble.”
  • Why Choose: Trochaic Tetrameter can create a forceful, rhythmic impact. It’s often used in verses that require a strong, falling rhythm or an incantatory feel. Trochaic Tetrameter can be used to convey a sense of urgency or to create a chant-like rhythm.

Anapestic Tetrameter

  • Anapestic: A metrical foot consisting of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable (da-da-DUM).
  • Tetrameter: Four metrical feet per line.
  • Example: “The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold.”
  • Why Choose: Anapestic Tetrameter creates a fast-paced, rollicking rhythm. It’s frequently used in comic verse or light-hearted poetry. Anapestic Tetrameter is often selected for its lively and upbeat tempo, suitable for humorous or light-hearted poetry.

Dactylic Hexameter

  • Dactylic: A metrical foot with a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables (DUM-da-da).
  • Hexameter: Six metrical feet per line.
  • Example: Classical epic poetry, like Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey”.
  • Why Choose: Dactylic Hexameter is often associated with grand and epic themes. It’s the meter of ancient Greek and Latin classic poetry, ideal for narratives of heroic action or extensive journeys. Dactylic Hexameter is the go-to for epic storytelling, evoking a sense of grandeur and classical tradition.

Each meter brings its unique beat and musicality to a poem, and poets choose based on the emotional and rhythmic effects they want to achieve.

Additional Instructions

Use this field to add any specific requests or creative directions for your poem, such as “Please incorporate imagery related to the seasons.”  You can use this section to instruct the Poetry Machine to write a poem with other types of structure or meter that may not be available in the dropdown menus.  Get creative!

Ensuring Harmony Between Choices

While the Poetry Machine provides flexibility, certain selections may conflict. For example, choosing a Haiku while selecting Iambic Pentameter for the meter would be contradictory since a Haiku has a specific syllable count that does not accommodate iambic pentameter.

The Poetry Machine is designed to detect these conflicts. If incompatible options are selected, it will highlight these issues and offer tips to resolve them. This ensures the integrity of the poetic structure and maintains the artistic flow of the composition.

Experiment and Learn with the Poetry Machine

By understanding each component and making informed selections, the Poetry Machine can serve as a powerful ally in the art of poetry creation. It allows for experimentation while also guiding the user to achieve a harmonious composition, making poetry writing more accessible to all.

How did this tool work for you? How can we make it better?   Please send us your feedback by using the form below and include as many details as you can. 

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