Finding Poems Inside An AI Textural Landscape

Blackout Poem: Musicians and Biomimicry

My CLMOOC friend, Wendy T, shared the basic outline of an idea for using ChatGPT for a creative writing workshop, in which participants would use the AI to generate some text response, and then the participants would turn that text into found poetry through a blackout poem format. Intrigued, I decided to give it a go myself.

I had recently been listening to a podcast (On Being with Krista Tippett) about biomimicry, so the concept of turning to nature for solving problems or finding new ways to be creative was on my mind.

I asked ChatGPT about how musician use biomimicry to create music, and it responded:

Biomimicry is the practice of using nature as a source of inspiration to solve human problems and create sustainable solutions. In recent years, some musicians have turned to biomimicry as a way to generate new sounds and compositions.

One example of a musician who uses biomimicry is Bernie Krause, a bioacoustician and musician who has spent decades recording the sounds of nature. Krause has used these recordings as the basis for his music, creating compositions that blend natural sounds with electronic and acoustic instruments.

Another example is the French musician and composer Grégoire Lorieux, who has developed a technique called “biomimetic music” that uses algorithms to analyze natural sounds and transform them into musical notes and rhythms. Lorieux’s compositions include pieces inspired by the sounds of bird calls, insect chirps, and even the movements of plants.

Other musicians have used biomimicry to design instruments that mimic the sounds of nature. For example, the “bioacoustic” guitar created by luthier Paul Vo features a resonant chamber made from a gourd, which produces a sound similar to that of an insect’s wings.

Overall, biomimicry offers musicians a way to tap into the vast and diverse soundscape of nature, and to explore new sonic possibilities by taking inspiration from the natural world.

I found that information fascinating — particularly the examples in the field — but for a blackout poem (using a Glitch tool), the text was too long, so I asked Chat if it could shorten its response:

Yes, some musicians use biomimicry as a source of inspiration to create new sounds and compositions. For example, Bernie Krause has blended natural sounds with electronic and acoustic instruments, while Grégoire Lorieux has developed a technique that uses algorithms to transform natural sounds into musical notes and rhythms. Other musicians have designed instruments that mimic the sounds of nature. Biomimicry allows musicians to tap into the diverse soundscape of nature and explore new sonic possibilities.

Perfect. I put that text into the Blackout Poem tool and got to work, finding some threads and connections that might be more poetic than the Chat response. This is what emerged (as well as the image above):

Musicians use biomimicry
to create new compositions

Blended natural sounds:
electronic acoustic instruments
that transform natural sounds
into musical notes and rhythms

Instruments mimic nature
Musicians tap into the diverse landscape
of nature and sonic possibilities

Not bad! And one more step — I took that poem and moved it into a nature-themed background, and I think it came out quite nicely.

Musical Biomimicry

And one more experiment — this time with the full, long ChatGPT text but using a different poem mixer on Github that Wendy shared that “poemifies” text, although I am not sure how the site determines which words can be revealed and which can’t. This one is a variation but the creation seemed not as interesting, in my opinion. It is interesting that an entirely new poem emerges when you use a difficult platform, though.

Blackout Poem: Musical Biomimicry

This poem:

The nature turned new
Creating algorithms and
Other instruments mimic
resonant wings
Musicians tap the vast

This mix of human question, computer response, and then human intervention in the text gives the activity an interesting element, I found.

Peace (and Sound),

Poems (Inspired by Terry and Wendy)


Yesterday, I was inspired by some CLMOOC friends to write poems — first, with Terry E., whose post about turning his daily notes into poem led me to riff off his words for my own collection and then Wendy T., whose tweet about workshop using ChatGPT to generate text for a found/blackout poem had me thinking.

Blackout Poem: Musicians and Biomimicry

(I will write more about this tomorrow)

Peace (and Poems),

Poem: Chemical Reaction

Animated GIF

This poem comes from yesterday’s morning poem off Mastodon (prompt: chemical), and when I shared it, I gave out the warning: this poem may not be stable, scientifically.

Peace (and Atoms),

Slice Of Life/OpenWrite: Bewildered By AI

Since December, when ChatGPT arrived, I’ve been paying close attention to how the advancements of Artificial Intelligence have been playing out. I wrote a column about its impact on education in our local newspaper and I’ve played with many of the tools arriving seemingly daily that integrate AI into the act of writing.

I’m still bewildered by it all. I can certainly see the possibilities but also worry about the unforeseen elements of these AI systems pushed out into the public, with few guardrails or weak parameters. We just don’t know how people will use the AI tools, and that’s a concern, I think.

I don’t necessarily arrive at the AI evolution from a negative standpoint, thinking it will be the end of the world as we know it. I am open to the wonder of technology. I remain very curious. I do believe AI will change teaching and learning in many ways, although how and when is still undetermined. I just hope that change isn’t reduced to writing essays in little blue notebooks again. I hope we educators look at our teaching practice, critically, and revamp to make inquiry and creativity at the heart of what we want our students to do.

This morning, over at the OpenWrite at Ethical ELA, the prompt for poetry was to consider using an AI site for playing with poetry, but I found I didn’t want to do that today. Instead, I found myself writing a poem about being bewildered by AI, particularly about how our own words — put out here in blogs and other online spaces — are probably what is feeding the AI databases, and when we write a prompt for the AI to write to, it’s probably regurgitating back with our own words, just jumbled and jangled up, and tied with a technological bow.

Isn’t that strange to think about?

Here’s my morning poem:

Let me sit a moment
in this silence,
reduced to the hum
of a machine, at rest

It’s bewildering, at best,
this database, the way
predictive text paints
a poem with someone else’s

or maybe inked of our own,
you never know –
some scraps of writing
past might now be
nestled inside the box,
boomeranged back
with a prompt

But I won’t even
recognize myself,
reduced to numbers
and noise;

What’s long gone
gets gobbled up,
and the future,
still a pencil mark away

Write At Rest

Peace (and Purpose),

Slice of Life: Phenomenal Woman

My wife and I went to see Ruthie Foster in concert, and it was just her and her guitar on the stage of a music center now using a church. She was magical, singing us blues and soul and gospel through the night.

Today’s poem for Slice of Life captures the wonder we had in watching her perform, and in particular, a moment where she went into a song with no guitar at all — just her, her voice, and us, the audience.

She SingsAnd here is a glimpse of Ruthie in another concert from a few years back. She played this song — a Maya Angelou poem set to music — near the end of the concert and just blew us all away.

Peace (and music),


A Few Small Poems

Kiss Poem

As I have been doing, I am gathering a few poems from my morning routine to share here … most come from one-word prompts off Mastodon.
Chalk Dust
Abandoned Playset
Landscapes of Wheat
But some are response poems, like this one to my friend, Algot:
Coffee Cup Ideas

Peace (and writing),