Using an algorithm to write haiku, using a chart to write free verse

An Algorithm Writes Haiku in New York

The NY Times has a blog  – – where they post “accidental” haikus found on the newspaper’s home page by an algorithm. The program follows some simple rules, and real live journalists and Times writers curate the posts, so the results run the whole spectrum from funny to profound. Today’s post:

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 8.14.45 AM


From an illustrated poetry perspective – the lines behind the poem are not random – they are based on the algorithm’s analysis of the meter of the first line.

A Poet Uses a Chart to Write Free Verse in Boston

As posted on Red String PaperCuts – a great new blog that aims to serve up inspiration and a publishing platform for writers – Galumphing is a creativity tool with three simple rules – 1) pick three numbers from 1 to 10, 2) look up the words corresponding to those numbers on the chart provided, and 3) go write a poem inspired by or including these words. So I gave it a whirl, picked the numbers 1-5-6 (I was very chronological about it, but the numbers can be in any order) and wound up with “waiter/waitress,” “Outer Space,” and “pen.” I reblogged the results before this post. It was a blast and I recommend y’all give it a try. Submit your Galumphing masterpiece to Red String PaperCuts and word on the street is they’ll post it!




  1. Loving the programming/poetry crossover! Here is a science-inspired (and sadly autobiographical) haiku: Your file has been flagged. Time allowed to get degree / has been exceeded.


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