Found Poetry Thursday – with random poem bonus!


It’s been a little while since I posted some poetry that I found out in the wild! This one was spotted at an exhibit on the history of photography at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. It took a little digging to identify the author and origin of the verse – this particular display was on the camera lucida, an early projection device for artists, and did not provide information on the quatrain. Miss Eliza Savage was the long time pen pal and “beta reader” for the Victorian era author Samuel Butler (1835 – 1902). His literary legacy has all but waned but his work was cited as an influence by Aldous Huxley, E.M. Forster, and George Bernard Shaw. Miss Savage wrote this “poem” in a letter to Mr. Butler, although a biography of Mr. Butler reversed the order of the lines. Photograph by me.

A couple of poetry links to round out this evening:

  1. For a wonderful fully illustrated version of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot (which is one of my favorite poems) – head over to Julian Peters Comics at this link here. Then linger a bit on his site to see a number of the classics beautifully illustrated.
  2. I’m now using three different poetry generator websites to make random poems – basically algorithms that generate random poems from either user supplied text or a standard set of words. If you put the “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” into the Interactive Haiku Generator (link below) you can get haiku like this:

    Sudden spreads the overwhelming

    We and it’s us

    On a night so tedious.

I have found these random poems to be both a great source of inspiration, a way to “unstick” from writing dry spells, as well as good Surrealist poems in their own right.

Here are the three sites – but fair warning, they are very addictive! Enjoy!

Interactive Haiku Generator 

Dada Poetry Generator

Thinkzone Poem Generator 


  1. Marcy, there needs to be a “Like to infinity” star on WordPress. You know how I feel about Prufrock; that comic is fantastic!! ^_^ And those generators are a dangerous thing to toss before me this close to the end of a work day… Look what the haiku generator did to an article on leadership that’s in one of the class materials I’ve been prepping:

    “If we can accept the notion that the relationship between governments, societies and public administrators is evolving, then couldn’t we also accept that leadership styles might also be changing? Don’t we have an urgent need to learn more about what it takes to be a great public administrator in the second decade of the 21st century?”

    No one notion
    Along this that but I,
    This evolving we.



    1. Thank you, Sunshine! I would love a “like to infinity” button! If FB can add a “dislike” button, then WP could add something more emphatic than “like”, right? 🙂 I do hope Mr. Peters eventually offers his illustrated “Love Song” for sale online – I will immediately buy a copy (I think he did have some with him at a zine festival in Canada, which I did consider trying to attend!!).

      Ah, the dangers of the poetry generators…but I think it hit that passage on the head! I hope you shared it with your students – I bet they would enjoy the “haiku version” of their material!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. …a techno poetry generator… I feel like Alexander Graham Bell’s mother must have felt when he said, “Look ma, I’ve invented a device that will carry your voice through the air, right to Mrs. so-and-so across the street!” 🙂


    1. I love that analogy! Between Twitter poetry and Snapchat poems and who-knows-what-next, this might feel like the last thing we need – but I think using technology to free the unconscious mind would be something that the Surrealists would approve of! A “Readymade” poem, if you will. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! We have Matthias over at Beat Company to blame for introducing me to the Dada poetry generator, brining the total number of generators to three. It was so interesting to track down information about Miss Savage, googling her name turned up nothing (well, lots of modern folks with that name, but nobody from the right era) and had to search for the actual verse. Thank you Google Books! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Intriguing post and useful resources. Eye catching visual composition.

    I am fond of Google Translate as a creative . Use a mix of my own writing and random pieces of text. I put them through multiple translations and sculpt the passage into a coherent imagist prose poem narrative.


    1. Thank you! That’s an interesting idea – using Google Translate that way! I shall have to try it. Thank you for sharing. Do you have a post demonstrating that process? I’d love to see the work-in-progress on one!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I work in bits and pieces. I will start with some lines of my own and usually take some lines of text from something . I will then put it through a translation into a European and then an Asian language before returning it to English. I will then use pieces of the new English version to modify the original piece. I may do this several times till I feel satisfied/inspired to riff on the new base . I try to find new metaphors, figurative language and imagery patterns to build up. I also tend to mix poetry and prose poem and other narrative forms into one piece. The following link is an example of this whole process.

        I used a poem in Italian that was posted on the blog Un Artista Minimalista . Translating a poetic work will produce unusual results and in this case it got me creating a kind of riff response.

        You will also find a Fibku poetry tag. I came up with this form ages ago for my students. It combines Haiku with Fibonacci Sequence .


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