Sunday, August 23, 2009


poem in a cloud is a website that generates 'word-clouds'. That is, it takes whatever bunch of text you want to dump in it and turns this into a randomly arranged graphic word-picture. More interestingly, rather than using all the words in your text, it sorts out the less interesting chaff (definite articles, and, a, etc.) then, for the remainder, "uses the number of times a word appears in a text to determine its relative size." So you get a snapshot of how often you've used (or overused) a particular word. Sometimes this can be misleading; I altered my text (the MS of my latest poetry collection) when I realised that 'James Joyce' was one of the largest words, which would have given the impression that I had written a series of odes to the master, while in fact the name was simply repeated in one small poem.

If you don't like the fonts/colours or whatever you can get another design by simply clicking the 'randomize' button. So I tried a few till I found this. I like the colour and design, but most of all the random 'poem' top left:

little Ghost
called Life

You can then exhibit these little concoctions in the online gallery or on your blog (the instructions are in the FAQs).

So how about that? Properly postmodern randomness, DIY "visual poems" far better than those I've come across.

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