1 minute read

About a year ago, I got frustrated with my writing and decided to mess around with my first drafts and discarded attempts at stories. They had been languishing on my hard drive for years. I wasn’t publishing them and they weren’t being seen by anyone. To be honest, most of the stories just weren’t very good.
So I destroyed them. Well, no, not quite. I fed them one by one through a digital shredder, like this. It works using Markov chains to generate words. Surprisingly, this creates new phrases. It makes no sense, but more than you might imagine.

This is an example of the sort of text you get:

Typical. It was heading an inconvenient five extra minutes to his carelessness, Steve adjusted his carelessness, Steve had go the door, someone should today bring it up with his journey. He fiddle of the office. A morning outside the long way round, adding overly chirpy employees turned to make sure they weren't liable. That would bring special premiums for employees turned to sound annoyed.

Perfectly readable, if mostly nonsense. I selected phrases from this gibberish to create new poems. It was surprisingly liberating. The process freed up my imagination and from the gibbersih, I created a number of new poems from it

Below is one of my favourites. I hope you enjoy


The city dreams of another war. We pause,
Huddled round cold encouraging stars,
Whilst over the horizon a massacre happens.

The city dreams of games and shooting screens.
Lovers had left the planet. We sit enraptured
watching the sea projected in our minds.

The city watches the shore. Everywhere, hard walls
and economic forecasts were deceiving. We had the
globe in our fingers but wanted the universe



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