Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dylan Thomas Rolls Over Drunkenly in His Grave

O curse you, Internetz. How many poems and stories have you stolen by providing such interesting toys?

I spent a good half hour playing with this Wordle thing a few days back. This is, of course, because I do not actually enjoy writing and like to distract myself from distraction with distractions. A half truth: There are moments when I'm "in the stream" when writing feels close to ecstasy, a rapture-of-Saint-Theresa-the-cosmos-is-flowing-through-me-and-I-am-but-its-humble-vessel sort of feeling -- but a vast majority of the time it is work, work, work. More mind-numbingly pleasant to screw around online.

(Aside: How much of blogging and Internet-surfing is people trying to avoid their vocations? Discuss.)

Wordle takes whatever text you give it and creates word collages in which the more frequently appearing words are largest. (This would be fun and horrifying to do with some of Bush's speeches. I'm expect EVILDOERS, FREEDOM, and POOTIE-POOT would make a big show.)

I plugged in a couple of my own poems and found that the word "one" is a biggie for me. Wordle has flagged some ongoing quest for communion and unity I didn't even know I was on about! I'm thinking this could be a way quicker method of therapy: After an hour on the couch, your shrink plugs everything you've said into Wordle and finds that the word FATHER is huge in your collage and tells you to go make your peace with him.

Also, for lazy college students assigned to poetry analysis. So much more accessible!

"So, John, what do you think Thomas is talking about in this poem?"

"He's talking about, um, greenness, the state of being, you know, green, and young, and about living on a farm and how like, living out with nature and apples almost feels like being high. Also, about time and stuff."


Maggie May said...

your idea about Bush is pure genius. The Onion should do a write up on that. and the therapy idea is terrifying. i would never do that, god knows what i'd find!

Tim Carman said...

My dearest Carrie, I'm such a cretin. I can't help but think how cool the poems look once you plug them into Wordle. It makes me want to actually hang the words of William McGonagall right in our very home.

newzoopoet said...

I'm so sorry about the new wordle addiction. Does this mean I'm an enabler? hehe

Angela said...

Your idea about tag clouds simplifying therapy is brilliant! I just typed in my blog's URL and discovered I had a major issue with WINE and CHEESE.

M. C. Allan said...

Ang, I've long suspected there was something going on with you and wine and cheese ... never been able to put my finger on it till Wordle came along ;)