Vintage typewriter with 'Create a personalized poem' on paper, surrounded by Google Poetics notes.

The Art of Google Poetry: A Guide to Creating Found Poems with Google

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Google Poetry refers to poems created by arranging and editing the phrase predictions that pop up in Google’s search bar into lines and stanzas. This form of “found poetry” emerged in 2011 and takes advantage of the absurd or evocative word combinations generated by Google’s autocomplete algorithm.

Google Poems are a form of found poetry created by using the autocorrect predictions that appear in the Google search bar. By typing in words or phrases and then arranging the suggested results into lines and stanzas, poets can craft short poems from the uncanny word combinations produced by Google’s algorithm.

See Also: Google Autocomplete Suggestions

Search bar with queries on getting a passport, voting, and personal growth advice.

What is Google Poetry?

Google Poetry refers to poems created using the autocomplete suggestions that pop up in the Google search bar. This form of “found poetry” was coined in 2011 by Brian Joseph Davis, an artist and programmer who began capturing the strange and evocative potential in Google’s algorithmically generated phrases.

To create a Google poem, you simply begin typing a word or phrase into Google and then select the autocomplete suggestions that appear. By repeating this and arranging the results into lines and stanzas, you can discover unexpected word combinations and craft them into poems. For example, you could generate the following short verse:

where can I find

where can I find hope

where can I find happiness

where can I find purpose

Google Poetry provides an absurdist creativity constraint, allowing poets to explore themes by mining the associations and patterns within Google’s treasure trove of search data.

The History and Origins of Google Poetry

The practice of crafting poetry from existing texts is known as “found poetry” – shaping verse from sources like newspapers, product catalogs, and even spam email. Google Poetry puts a digital spin on this idea.

Coined by Brian Joseph Davis, Google Poetry went viral after he began sharing examples on his blog in 2011. It resonated with readers enchanted by the poetic potential in an everyday search engine.

Google’s autocomplete algorithm, which predicts and offers search terms as you type, provides rich source material. It reveals the uncanny and collective nature of our queries and web searches.

As Google Poetry has gained popularity online, more writers have begun experimenting with crafting poems using autocomplete suggestions in languages beyond English.

Why Write Google Poems?

Creative Exploration of Language

Google Poetry allows for playful exploration of the patterns and curious associations in our shared language use. The constraints provided by Google’s algorithm pushes poets to discover inventive combinations of words and ideas.

Thought-Provoking Word Juxtapositions

Lines created using the autocomplete function often pair words in provocative ways. This can create delightful moments of surprise or deeper reflections on culture and the human condition.

Absurdist Creativity Using an Everyday App

We engage with Google’s search engine daily. Google Poetry transforms this ubiquitous digital tool into a generator for creativity. The absurdity and non-sequitors in uncanny phrases invite poets to find their own meaning.

Source Material That Shapes the Poem

In found poetry, the existing text being used shapes the poem by providing linguistic constraints. With Google Poetry, the algorithmically generated phrases send the poem in unexpected directions.

How to Write a Google Poem

Here are some steps to get started writing your own Google Poetry:

  1. Choose a Theme or Keyword – Select an idea, word, or phrase to build your poem around. Love, solitude and technology are popular themes.
  2. Type it into Google – Start simply by typing your keyword or first phrase into the search bar.
  3. Note the Autocomplete Suggestions – Don’t press enter. Instead, write down the 4-5 autocomplete phrases that pop up.
  4. Repeat with the Suggestions – Take one of the autocomplete phrases and type it back into the search bar to generate more.
  5. Create Word & Phrase Chains – Repeat steps 3-4, branching off of the suggestions until you have interesting chains of related words and lines.
  6. Arrange into a Poem – Experiment arranging the word chains into a poem with lines and stanzas.
  7. Refine and Polish – Now begin revising by deleting repetitiveness and enhancing the flow and impact. Add punctuation and line breaks judiciously. Read it aloud. Your Google poem is complete!

Tips for Crafting Google Poems

  • Try varied keywords – Nouns, verbs, questions, quotes and unusual phrases will produce different results.
  • Break chains unpredictably – Let random lines drive the poem into unexpected spaces.
  • Delete repetitive phrases – Unless repetitiveness serves a purpose, cut repetition.
  • Rearrange and remix lines – Play around with the order of lines and stanzas during editing.
  • Repeat words intentionally – Occasional repetition can reinforce themes and motifs.
  • Read aloud – Listen to improve the flow and rhythm. Tweak line breaks and punctuation.

Examples of Google Poetry

Here are some excerpted verses from found Google poems to showcase the potential:

From “Solitude” by Allison Palmquist

In solitude I lose

In solitude I find

In solitude I sorrow

In solitude I heal

This poem incorporates repetition and oppositional states to explore the dualities within being alone.

From “Nature” by Brian Bilston

O flower in the crannied rock

O nature red in tooth and claw

O starry sky above me

Juxtaposing three quintessential nature phrases creates an evocative image, questioning both its beauty and violence.

From “The Light” by Clementine von Radics

There is a light that never goes out

There is a light that fills the soul

There is a light that travels forever

Google Poetry Tools and Generators

Several tools exist to facilitate crafting Google Poetry:

  • Google Poetics – Produces voice recitations of Google autocomplete poems. Generates poems from search autocomplete suggestions.

Some also allow exploring autocomplete poems in other languages beyond English.

Google Poetry Challenges and Contests

Google Poetry has inspired creative online challenges and contests like:

  • Williams College’s Annual Contest – Submissions due each April with cash prizes
  • Poets.org’s Poem-A-Day – Daily poem prompts using Google autocomplete
  • Autocomplete Me – a Poetry Foundation challenge to tweet Google poems

Such events generate opportunities for writers to craft and publish original Google Poetry.

Google Poetry in Education and Pop Culture

Google Poetry is gaining traction as a way to spark creativity and engage learners with technology:

  • Teachers use it to study algorithms, digital culture and literature.
  • It has appeared in television shows like BoJack Horseman and commercials by companies like Lego.
  • Allows everyday internet users to creatively repurpose a ubiquitous search tool.

The Future of Google Poetry

As Google’s autocomplete algorithms continue evolving, it will be interesting to see how machine learning shapes the experience and poetic potential of generating Google Poetry.

Perhaps new technologies will emerge that inspire other innovative forms of found poetry using the digital tools that surround us. But for now, Google autocomplete provides a unique springboard for sparking absurdist creativity – one search at a time.

In summary, Google Poetry taps into the evocative potential within our collective digital culture. Through unexpected juxtapositions, it allows us to see poetry in our everyday online searches. Anyone can craft their own Google Poems by following a few simple steps. Try it out and discover a new way to remix language and technology into art.

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Google Poetics
Google Poetics, curated by Sampsa Nuotio, transforms Google's autocomplete suggestions into a poignant anthology reflecting our collective human experience.

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