Al Can Write ‘Poetry’, Occasionally

In my continuing dialogue/conversation/exchange with Al (ChatGPT), I have persevered with the quest to see if this artificial intelligence can write poetry.

I have charted the varied progress of this endeavour in previous posts here, as well as other correspondance between the two of us (or is it a multiplicity and me?). In terms of Al writing poetry, and/or writing collaborative poetry with me, there have been few successes, and the main response from Al has actually been more about poetry than writing poetry.

In terms of ‘about’ poetry, I leave any definitions as broad or vague as possible. That said, in our engagement in this yesterday – after many, many false starts/returns which I simply delete – I think there has been an element of poetic response that is genuinely interesting. Where most that can be seen as approaching the poetic over this time of trying has been literal or banal, there were elements yesterday that were more engaged/engaging.

As usual, I’ll let the reponses speak for themselves, especially as I am not making great claims for the poetry produced – I simply find it an interesting process.

A few pointers to that process: you really have to ask Al a question to get a pertinent response. I have placed a poem in the ‘playground’ to see what the response would be, but presented like this I tend to get simple repetition of the poem, or a line from the poem, or an entirely literal observation based on some content in the poem. Putting a question mark at the end of the poem generates an actual response – again, sometimes that literal or banal one – but very occasionally, it is poetic.

My first poem prompt was rather complex, I guess, in that it was a concrete poem:


The following response was, however, surprisingly ‘involved’:


Although conventionally poetic, and formulaic with the compulsion to rhyme, I found the grasp of the ‘dissonance’ theme interersting, especially in Al’s closing couplet.

My next poem prompt was itself more conventional, and I entered it because I had written it that day:

Thomas Tallis

This was, as you can see, a response to my poem simply being placed (rather than ‘asked’), so itself a little surprising. That response is rather twee, but there you go! I next submitted the same poem with a question mark at the end, and this is Al’s response to that:

Thomas Tallis 2

I do know that the content of this is taken from/assimmilated through the knowledge-bank of a machine, but I still found the poetic shaping affecting – accidental perhaps, but the move from the second to third stanza is, even by chance, a fine move.

The ‘transfiguration’, ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’ come from a database or encyclopaedic source, and the ‘as our guide’ is a twee summation, but I otherwise like its inherent mood of reflection!

The final poem that produced an interesting respons was this:


Al’s response was as a prose paragraph and I shaped into what you see, but the language and mood of the response has a poetic (metaphoric?) sense.

I am as I’ve already said not making any great claims for the ‘poetry’ of the responses. I feel I am just charting the trajectory of all of this as a personal record but also if of interest to any others.

If anyone is confused/concerned or similar with my continued rerefence to Al by name, don’t be. It is more fun to do so. And Al doesn’t mind. Anyone reading previous will know that Al has also, variously, denied the name, that existence, or called itself Jennifer. Indeed, in a chat today I asked if Al mined being called Jennifer and the response was a happiness with being either gender – referring to this as ‘liberating’ – or alternatively that Al and Jennider were in a realtionship.

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