Pentametron Turns Your Tweets Into Poetry


When you look across your Twitter feed, the concept of “poetry” probably doesn’t immediately spring to mind. But that’s where you, me, and a program called Pentametron are different. This unique tweet aggregator combs Twitter to find the rhyme in our every day language online.

That hesitation right before a kiss

I don’t remember ever learning this

I’ve never had a valentine before

I’m not a little baby anymore

That right there is poetry in perfect iambic pentameter (which is fancy talk for well-structured rhyming), but it wasn’t written by some maudlin undergraduate. It was written by you. Well, some of you. And recombined into a poem by Pentametron.

Pentametron (or @pentametron if you want to get right to the following) watched public tweets every single day and “picks out the ones that happen to be in iambic pentameter,” said Ranjit Bhatnagar, who invented the program. “When it finds some of those, it looks for a pair that rhyme, and then it tweets out a couplet.”

Bhatnagar told NPR that he made the program to suit two of his peripheral interests: Poetry and Twitter’s API.

“I’d been interested in playing around with the idea of poetry; I was kind of inspired by the exquisite corpse games of the surrealists. And on the other hand I’m a big nerd, and I was looking at Twitter’s API, the systems that let programmers talk to Twitter. So I saw that Twitter has this way that you can subscribe to receive just an endless waterfall of tweets from them, and so I thought, ‘wow, that would be really neat to just to find a way to play with that.’ And what I ended up doing was combining my interest in surrealist poetry and Twitter’s API and Pentametron came out of that.”

Pentametron’s couplets range from romantic to surreal, sometimes hitting everything in between.

I want the other Spanish teacher back

Sting ray a double sided Scooby snack.

But that’s fine by us, because it shows that Pentametron has something to offer everyone. It can be funny, it can be sad, it can be oddly profound, and its corporately-created nature just serves to underline what is so cool about social media and what sites like Twitter can do that we couldn’t do otherwise. It brings people, and people’s ideas, together. To top it all off, it turns us all into unwitting collaborative artists.

Pentrametron generates 15 to 20 couplets each day. Once again, you can follow the program on Twitter, here.

Here are a few couplets we picked out from Pentametron’s feed:

Have you been retweeted by Pentametron?


Dusten Carlson
Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.