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T H E   H A I K U T O M A T I C


At base, it often seems that the human mind is a poetic machine. You feed it two ideas, and as if by some magic force, it will create an entirely new one that connects the two. Nowhere is this better displayed than in the venerable Haiku form of poetry, where three unconnected images, strung together suddenly transport you towards a brand new place, feeling or idea.

People have been trying to write poetry generators for a long time now, but computers have a notoriously difficult time with everyday language, not to mention poetic meaningfulness. But upon examination it seems that the conceptual unit of a Haiku is not the words themselves, but each image, represented by its own discrete phrase. The meaningful units are there, that is, and it is only in the stringing together and interpretation that they become poetry.

So I decided to write a series of haiku phrases, following the 5-7-5 syllable structure for each of the three lines respectively, and also employing the traditional approach in which the three lines descend from the "high" and general to "low" and particular.

Of course, as the three sentences are randomly generated there will be a lot of duds, but the Haikutomatic seems to hit the mark more often than not, and in fact can generate poems of insightful beauty.

On a lighter note, I've made an even more sophisticated Haikutomatic utilizing lines from The Big Lebowski. You can try that here.

Should you like to contribute some sentences to the Haikutomatic, please email them to me at my email To see the list of sentences in the javascript source code, just view the source code of this page (View > Source)

Special thanks to Giacomo for giving me the haiku wheel gift that inspired me to do this!

A relevant quote from the film "Repo Man":
"A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness."