ITP Blog

RWET - #4 :: Revise A New Poem Form


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This week we are asked to invent a new poem form. My form called 404 (pronounced "four oh four"):

word_1_start_with_"fo" word_2 word_3 word_4,
word_1_start_with_"fo" word_2 word_3 word_4.

The inspiration for this form is the 404 error page.
It's very hard to avoid bad links on large scale website. The original 404 page is showed when a user attempts to follow a broken or dead link. Search engines like google have functions like screenshot cache, which allow people to click pages that have been deleted from the server. Redesign 404 error page become somehow part of design strategy to make people feel less frustrated. Hence the 404 error is one of the most recognizable errors encountered on the World Wide Web.

404 page to me, is a memorial for web pages. 


The raw corpora I used is the script of Ratatouille, a Pixar movie at 2007, which I watched again earlier this week.

I choose this movie for a reason, the story is about Remy, being inspired and encouraged by a great chef Gusteau and fight with where he comes from, for which he is a rat, to be a great chef as well.

Gusteau said "everyone can cook", but he died at the very beginning of the movie. His book and quote was the memorial that keeps motivating others, including Remy and most of the characters in the movie. 

I learned a lot from web pages and some of them are still in my bookmark folder for me to go back and check again. It's sad to see they become a cold and ruthless 404 error page.





I played with the pronunciation and visual parts of 404:

0(Zero) is normally pronounced as Oh, and 4 in Millennium text message age is widely used to replace for, like 4ever.

404 is also a symmetry pattern.


Almost all the results are doing a good job at the four-oh-four pronunciation trick, however, on the visual side, they are not symmetry at all. I figure out I need to limit the length of my choice of words, which somehow would make it harder to generate a meaningful sentence. Here is a dilemma I don't know how to choose.


The results were polluted by meaningless noise, at this point, human beings can do it better. 

I imagine the result could be some lines like:

For no finishing homework,
Forever I lost sleep. 

The result actually gives me a result:

Forgotten is happiest poach,
Found to much days.

It takes the entire piece as one sentence and uses O word as the preposition. But I believe it won't take too long for a poet to think of this way of expression.


Since the corpora is a movie about chef and food, I fully prepared that my generative poems would look like a recipe or cooking tutorial. It does... The initial words were either "food" or "for" all the time.
Also, it's from a happy animation script, the exaggerated words in the conversation make the result like a list of daily complaint.
However, I think the meaningful result is neutral enough that one can not tell where the corpora come from.