First off, a disclaimer: in general, poetry is just not my thing. The only poet I’ve ever really enjoyed reading is e. e. cummings, very rarely has any other poetry caught my eye.

That said, the Darwinian Poetry project that Chris Boese mentioned caught my eye, and sounds like a really fun little experiment. So, what’s Darwinian Poetry?

Ok, here’s the idea: starting with a whole bunch (specifically 1,000) randomly generated groups of words (our “poems”), we are going to subject them to a form of natural selection, killing off the “bad” ones and breeding the “good” ones with each other. If enough generations go by, and if the gene pool is rich enough, we should eventually start to see interesting poems emerge.

The cool part is that YOU are the arbiter of what constitutes “good” and “bad” poetry. Once you start, you will be presented with two poems. In all likelihood they will both be abysmal pieces of nonsensical garbage. That’s ok. All you have to do is read them both and pick the one you find more appealing, for whatever reason. Your decision might be based on a single word that you happen to like. It doesn’t matter. Just pick whichever one strikes your fancy.

Once you choose a poem, your vote will be recorded and two more poems will appear. Keep doing this for as long as you like, and definitely come back frequently.

Over time the poems picked by you, and I hope by thousands of other people, will interbreed and more and more interesting poems will emerge. It could take a while. Weeks…months…I don’t know. It all depends on how many people participate, and how often.

The funny thing is, after clicking through a few, I’ve seen some that are entirely nonsensical, and others that rank right up there with some of the “official” poetry I’ve read.

But then, given my aforementioned views on poetry, that may not be saying much. ;)