SOLC Day 18: Poetry Writing with AI

March 2023 SOLC–Day 18
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

My To Do list is approaching epic proportions this weekend. Lots of it is creative (submit photos, order prints, order frames, submit to my writing group, comment on Poetry Friday posts, write a slice, etc), some are social (hanging out with my daughter, getting together with a friend), but lots are not so fun (organize tax information, pay bills, get ready for conferences, plan for the school week). All of them are time-consuming and that’s not even mentioning that I want to get outside for a long walk because it’s supposed to be gorgeous! And there are the weekly errands to deal with. And I’d like to take some pictures. And I need to clean. You get the idea.

(Thank you, amygdala. (I learned at PD yesterday that I’m supposed to thank my amygdala when I start to feel anxiety, but then not let it take the driver seat.))

So early this morning I opened my e-mail to find the first prompt of the Ethical ELA Open Write . This once-a-month series of five prompts is always engaging, but today it felt a bit like a straw falling hard on my back–even though it’s totally not a “must do” but a “want to do.” I took a glance at the prompt…oh, it was something with AI. I had a knee-jerk recoil. Then I remembered that I just wrote about how I use Siri to help me record thoughts, etc. when I can’t write (here). So, I decided not to be a rigid noodle (something else I learned at PD yesterday) and took up the challenge. I looked at the list of linked sites and opted for a British-based one. It seemed to add a veneer of class and civility to the whole proceedings.

Having made my choice, I clicked on Poem Generator. It gave me some options to complete:

Then I clicked on “Write me a poem”, and here’s what happened.

“The Bristling And Wordy Notebook

A Poem by Anon

Whose notebook is that? I think I know.
Its owner is quite angry though.
She was cross like a dark potato.
I watch her pace. I cry hello.

She gives her notebook a shake,
And screams I’ve made a bad mistake.
The only other sound’s the break,
Of distant waves and birds awake.

The notebook is bristling, wordy and deep,
But she has promises to keep,
Tormented with nightmares she never sleeps.
Revenge is a promise a girl should keep.

She rises from her cursed bed,
With thoughts of violence in her head,
A flash of rage and she sees red.
Without a pause I turned and fled.With thanks to the poet, Robert Frost, for the underlying structure.

Please note: This poem was created with our quick poem generator, so results are fairly basic. Our other generators use robots who take your input then trawl the dictionary for rhymes, synonymns and alliteration, creating a more unique experience.”

Oh, my, I think I’m just going to let that speak for itself.

Thank you, amygdala.

28 thoughts on “SOLC Day 18: Poetry Writing with AI

  1. dogtrax says:

    “She was cross like a dark potato.”
    Laughing …

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      That line got me, too– I might just have to add it to my repertoire. I mean I’m now comparing people to rigid noodles so I might as well go full foodie and add dark potatoes in there!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. maryleehahn says:

    Too. Much. Fun. (Robert Frost is spinning in his grave, tho…)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debbie Lynn says:

    Oh my gosh, what a busy agenda you have…good thing you had a poem generator. Sounds like it’s time for another one of your walks with your camera. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cindaroo42 says:

    Way to be a cooked noodle!! I tried it out last night too… and failed miserably.. hope your to-do’s get done, but also the walk in the sunshine

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      That noodle metaphor is going to stick with me! I also keep finding myself saying “Thank you amygdala.” And does this mean that neither one of us is going to write about Friday? lol


  5. lynnedorfman says:

    I guess I am a little horrified. AI to create college essays, poems, and what next? Whole identities? I guess I am feeling like a rigid noodle right now! I guess I should be amazed, but instead, I’m feeling something else…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. humbleswede says:

    Your list of to dos is daunting. I have the same feeling, but half of your list at most. I felt the Frost presence in the poem, but, yeah, the poet bots give me the heebie jeebies. I’ve been fiddling with them, too. I guess it can be good to analyze and critique a form when you know that the author can’t get its feelings hurt. It’s also really interesting to think of ways to revise the prompt to the bot to see how it changes the output. If students posted all of their “drafts” before an output that they liked, it would be interesting to hear them explain the revisions. Maybe it would make revision more palatable to kids as well.
    Good luck with your busy weekend. I look forward to the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Your ideas about AI and revision are interesting. I heard someone (or read something) that said this is more of an issue when we focus on product over process. Another interesting point.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Where is all this AI going? Perhaps we focus too much on the end product and not on the journey. When I began to play with words and phrases in my writing, experiment, a beautiful word of writing opened up. Five paragraph essays begat the idea of something more that AI filled!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I think you’re right, Dan. As I noted above, I read a similar comment from someone who noted this won’t have nearly the impact on classrooms where process is the focus.


  8. Fran Haley says:

    First, I am chuckling at the admonition to thank one’s amygdala while subtly subverting it (which I shall remember). Next, this poem. I gotta say it’s hilarious! I tried this same form early this morning with “happy” and “grandchild” and got the lines “She gives her grandchild a shake/ and laughs until her belly aches”…at which point I discarded it and generated a villanelle with rather lackluster and therefore comforting results.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. TLC says:

    I’m intrigued by the poem generator. Could be helpful for writing when the to do list is so big!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “New like a dark potato,” now that’s a unique simile! I tried the poetry generator too this morning. I think poetry in safe in human hands, hearts, and minds. For now, at least! Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. margaretsmn says:

    As we say in our house “that proves it.” I did not do that challenge because I was philosophically opposed. Ha! But it is fun to play with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Denise Krebs says:

    Yes, thank you amygdala! That last stanza is funny. Angry indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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