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these hanging to betamax caroline (Issue Three, Sonnetized)

[be gravestones eventually hot air more]

be gravestones eventually hot air more
dresses as current from as lit
damp yellow idle my blonde before
electric left allen heart and shit
cora obviate needs light absorbed he
if said she of the trees
for love trombone the it we
have children since through them extremities
graveyard him humanity carry woozy gleaming
where thinks now subscribed the might
one she we men is steaming
a building setting word equals midnight
faces up marriage lights myself marcel
great go bits i of well

Thanks to Metafilter projects, I recently became aware of Ross Goodwin’s Sonnetizer— an application he’s written in Python to create metrical, rhyming sonnets from any corpus of text. Naturally, he published a book of 10000 new Shakespeare sonnets (co-authored by the Bard himself). It’s pretty magnificent.

Anyway, I had some fun generating sonnets from the text of the issues of Really System (and from the combined text of all three) and sharing them on Twitter yesterday (for example: [february it’s melody quinine]; [to and if those girls this]; [you inaccessible glitter all be]). I’m going to keep playing around with this, and I’ll probably include some in the Really System Print Annual I should have out early next year. But, since we are mere days after the release of Issue Three: Alertly Messy, I wanted to share several sonnets generated just from that issue. They’re super fun to read aloud.

The first several are from a randomized corpus of every word in Issue Three, the final two are from the verbatim issue, line by line. You can tell the difference– the last two keep some phrases whole, which is something interesting to poke under the sonnetizer hood to investigate.

[bound to ready wax with and church for please]

bound to ready wax with and church for please
semester the i ephemeral gray
remember talks to cracked half that a keys
as ca i shadow music yesterday
sea minutes you allowing up and day
for lo girl bottom was girls equals go
murky from hoarding claimed close frogs me gray
furnace stained eye to knockout have hugh know
switch continued tiny tell tall away
their them spatter under apogee when
are uncles able if descend throes they
lost oyster a my like but that crate men
for lights the becomes excoriate i
relations did liquor fiery sky

[these treatment after an inside and blonde]

these treatment after an inside and blonde
of pool green although black it anvil all
and time that le i writes night and beyond
complaints reform armored dynamite tall
with that of girls cartilage my the knew
i gallows lewis collective he hat
takes and in is no luis through into
a wanted my carrying index chat
a thirty bag distance at crease am spine
sea a howl and dire the midnight but he
these hanging to betamax caroline
new congratulated the suddenly
very her found they noticed hat a how
concerning the dense i spatial fund now

[pebble where thinks now subscribed me]

pebble where thinks now subscribed me
in one she we men that
a building setting word equals tiny
faces up marriage lights myself vat
middle great go bits i worry
her fade the is is you
resting its unity to in fiery
threat headline if get fuck do
century have to of chest made
of the any meaning flexing away
architecture of presents been amid stayed
to duchamp for class captain yesterday
sinks it is his whale throes
salt but do missive its hose

[writers gorge yesterday of how her]

writers gorge yesterday of how her
drag musing alerts obsolete dogs grade
weapon axis life dying the feuer
widgets far never sure stayed stayed
would real hope tea this home
dim and good ablaze a know
in the edited child tacit chrome
barometric episode three of frogs orlando
road i a weekly skeletons it
conference nineteen sphere and to grass
doolittle her protest all scroll shit
in reached have you flash glass
me your bought emmett crave lungs
our not pearl to or tongues

[seem in wool of ship mayor used your whale]

seem in wool of ship mayor used your whale
of exaggerated of endings chair
american shall note at that the sale
some at i nothing heaven warming flare
can to other charles i salt form its are
as angers had coming cigarette her
night of another and fuck who lumbar
think if slips ever to the his after
hope started an the to finger the play
called see exit salmon night lights lumbar
to guy among hull ones the yesterday
he the say have a balancing bizarre
she primed windshield my welcome steer folklore
have dust what you his ’til know sugar shore

[that flash warning stay away from men how]

that flash warning stay away from men how
in a boat called love the lights dissolve time
one thirty years in a leather chair now
worlds witnessing wonders a light goes climb
lock the door three children grown lucky am
chat a two word text a skinny three fade
into murky waters crumpled slips lamb
does not suit our present needs we wish stayed
placing your light flickers the harbor sat
point to guide no yellow light to flash that
dim shadow on the shore the stubbed out chat
of death before death the gray whale sinks chat
the bottom harbor poseidon among
her uncles would not have fought shadow young

[flux only in hospitality its]

flux only in hospitality its
accidental architecture begun
to i as a child i am sure widgets
you were taught that fire that fire equals son
your mother tapping into your wrists sake
of your i can flick and switch through never
this static almanac but for the snake
me i can not remember whatever
me how to play with as if yesterday
and i am there as if it were the day
before my cheeks are still warm from the way
across the street disintegrated play
absorbed by its heat ephemeral that
it could do i think that i would fume chat

Poet by Poet: Sounding Out Issue Two

I’ve had some interesting feedback on the auralization of Issue One, so I decided to play around with the idea a little bit with the text of Issue Two. Here’s the full thing, poems all synched to the beginning:

Again, it’s kind of a hypnotic mess, but you hear some space there in the middle where the three pieces of Magus Magnus’s Payload Dump all align.  That part seems appropriately garbled and sterile, given the numerical & tactical subject matter. That got me thinking about layering individual poets’ poems from the issue to see what happens. Here are a few:

KJ Hannah Greenberg’s two poems from Issue Two

Aimee A. Norton’s two poems from Issue Two:

Jude Marr’s two poems from Issue Two:

Bill Neumire’s two poems from Issue Two:

Issue Two in Numbers

There are 19 pieces in Issue Two with a total of 3,765 words and 1,753 unique words by 15 poets.

Longest pieces (by words ): Payload Dump (1,157), The Sanctity Of Lists (260).

Shortest pieces: adrift (36), flight (54)

Highest vocabulary density (total words /  unique words): adrift (888.9), Assistance with Quickly Becoming Unbearable (886.2).

Lowest density: Translations of an Algorithmic Love Poem (466.7), Payload Dump (474.5).

Most frequent words in the issue (excluding stop words):




Auralization: Composite Whisper of Issue One

Before Issue One was released, I offered a glimpse of what all the poems in the issue looked like when overlaid. We learned a few things about the issue as a whole: most of the poems were short, & most of them were flush-left, except for Dan Boehl’s “Excerpts from Whatever from @emoemoji.” Many poems featured shortish lines, but Rose Swartz’s “Odalisque” & “Quondam”, Erin Dorney’s “This is Not a Poem About Fast Food”, and Vanessa Couto Johnson’s “(t)ravel” & “neces(sit)ies” create some density toward the top right margin of the composite image.  What struck me as interesting about this composite (along with it’s resemblance to the cover of Magus Magnus’s fabulous The Re-Echoes) was that the only legible parts of the image were the lines & words that were outliers.

But reading these poems is a very different experience from just looking at the zoomed-out visualization. Those who know me are aware that I am fascinated by nearly any audio, and am most happy when making noise. So naturally, I decided to investigate Issue One from an aural perspective. Below is the resulting cacophony.

Of course, it’s unlistenable. But if you hang around until the end, it’s kind of creepy and interesting. Unlike the visual representation, Dan Boehl’s white-spacey poem is over in a heartbeat, and Gregory Crosby’s sestina Satan’s Skull Glows White Hot,” is the last & most legible piece. There’s a little bit of “Odalisque” in there at the end, too.

What I did here was convert each poem to speech (I chose a whispery voice to minimize any confusing melodic clashes), and then made a recording of them all, synchronized to the start. I’m wondering if it might have been better to sync to the midpoint; maybe I’ll try that later.

The more I listen to this, the more interested I am in the percussive nature of the most dense portions, and how it almost gives a beat to these poems in conversation. It’s impossible to catch more than a word hear and there, and speech-to-text is definitely not the most poetic way to encounter the sound of these pieces, but I have to admit I like the sound of this.  I sounds like a crowd. It sounds like static. It also sounds like the intro to Kraftwerk’s “Numbers” played on a slowly declining number of  blown-speaker boomboxes. & that’s good enough for me.