February 16, 2017

Generating Poetry the John Cage Way

In it's simplest form, the Haiku is explained as a 3 line poem with the first line being 5 syllables, the second line being 7 syllables, and the third line being 5 syllables, or, even simpler, a 17 syllable poem.

There is lots of discussion about whether just having the right amount of syllables makes it a haiku, and I'm not going to come down on whether what is going to follow is really creating haiku or not because I'm not trying to create intentional haiku.

No, I'm trying to create random haiku but limiting it to 3 words.

There are approximately 9,500 (5) syllable words, and 850 (7) syllable words in the English Language.  Knowing that, it is possible to create 76,712,500,000 unique haiku.

If you want to see how this works click the below link.

3 Word Haikus

From there, I can open the spreadsheet and make it editable.  On the top of column B (the blacked out column) I have my formula for randomizing.  From there I can sort the data and it will populate a new 5 syllable word at the top of the page then I can navigate to the next sheet, follow the same process and get a random 7 syllable word, and finally (for the third line), I go back to the 5 syllable sheet and activate the formula.

Giving me a haiku that looks like this: