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July 12, 2006 11:11 AM   Subscribe

how can i make poems like spam email?

ive gotten really into the weird poetry at the end of spam messages. itmakes me wish i could make my own. i think they put it there to trick the spam filters. does anyone know of software i can use to make poetry like that? its like random sentences cut-up and stitched together.

If I could get two months' pay-- "Your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip," Jonathan would say, other than that. Yesterday I had cast my line and today I was reeling in, away. Earth had been a place where we had learned much, Strong sweeping circles, Biblo said.
posted by petsounds to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You may want to check out William S. Burroughs, or, alternately, Kurt Cobain.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:15 AM on July 12, 2006

You could try an online Cut-Up Generator.
posted by RoseovSharon at 11:16 AM on July 12, 2006

You want a Markov Generator
posted by orthogonality at 11:21 AM on July 12, 2006

See also Flarf.
posted by kelegraph at 11:29 AM on July 12, 2006

Those are lines from popular novels.
"Your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip" is from Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

I create poetry like that all the time. Usually halfway through a bottle of El Presidente.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:31 AM on July 12, 2006

Markov yes, or generally "Dissociated Press" implementations.
posted by baylink at 11:41 AM on July 12, 2006

You might like some of Ghostface Killah's lyrics too. Much of it makes sense if you know the slang, but for the most part it resembles spam:

Aiyyo, we at the weedgate, waitin for Jake
We want eight ravioli bags, two thirsty villians yelling bellyaches
Heavyweight rhyme writers hittin the grass
Stash the right b*tch, pull out his kite from this white b*tch
Talkin bout, "Dear Ghost, you the only nigga I know
like when the cops come, you never hide your toast"
Guests started mashing, CVL, Ice Water battlion
Past tense place to gold caskets
Dru Hill bitches, specialist loungin at the mosk
Suede cufy, Rabbi come dig up a dentist
Rhymes is made of garlic, never in the target
when the NARC's hit, rumor is you might start to spit
You nice Lord, sweet daddy Grace, wind lifted
on the dancefloor, mangos is free followed by Ghost
Dug behind monument cakes, we never half-baked
Alaskan, cess-capade, pushin new court dates
Trauma, hands is like candy canes, lay my balls on ice
The branches in my weed be the vein
Swimsuit issue, darts sent truly from the heart, boo, I miss you
See daddy rock a wristful
Moder-en slave God, graveyard spells, fog your goggles
Layin like needles in the hospital
Five steps to conquer, Ax Vernon debt, big ass whistle
Ziploc your ear, here thistle

posted by milarepa at 11:45 AM on July 12, 2006

I'd meant to mention Flarf but someone beat me to it.


Jacket mag flarf issue

Jordan Davis on Flarf

Flarf: Escalation of Arguments, the Poetry Blog-o-sphere

Flarf festival

For more info, check out the Lucipo list.

There's a village voice article called something like "Ghost Face Killah or Avant-garde poetry? You decide!"
posted by kensanway at 12:19 PM on July 12, 2006

Can someone talk about the technical background behind why Spam emails sound that way?
posted by kensanway at 12:20 PM on July 12, 2006

kensanway: to fool spam filters into thinking they're valid emails. if the ratio of sentences to spam is high enough, some spam filters will let the email through.
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:22 PM on July 12, 2006

Not really quite a response to your question, but strangely relevant anyway: if you get a chance, watch the film "Orphée", by Jean Cocteau, made in 1950.

During WWII, the BBC used to broadcast strange sentences, some of which were from literature, at the end of their news broadcasts. They were open codes, and many of them were intended to send messages to the French Resistance. Listening to them in succession had much the same kind of strange feel that the spam garbage you're talking about has, and Cocteau uses that in his movie as a central plot point -- only in this case they're actually messages from a mystical source.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:57 PM on July 12, 2006

Kensanway, they're trying to dilute the effect of their "bad words" with lots of good words, but that doesn't work very well for Bayesian filters. The Bayesian approach uses non-linear weighting, and lots of midly good words don't counterbalance a handful of really bad i.e. spammy words like "refinance" or the names of various prescription drugs.

I've long had a suspicion that they had a secondary intent: their real goal is to poison Bayesian filters by getting a lot of normal words classified as "spam" thus increasing the number of false positives, in hopes of getting the users to abandon their Bayesian filters. It doesn't work, though.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:00 PM on July 12, 2006

Response by poster: thanks for all the great links guys. ghostface definitely is great. i really like mf doom too.. a lot of his rhymes make sense even though they dont really make sense

Dick Dastardly and Muttley with sick laughter
A gun fight and they come to cut the mixmaster
I-C-E cold, nice to be old
Y2G steed twice to threefold
He sold scrolls lo and behold
Know who's the illest ever like the greatest story told

posted by petsounds at 1:06 PM on July 12, 2006

You may also want to check out the deathbed ramblings of mobster Dutch Schultz.
posted by kelegraph at 1:35 PM on July 12, 2006

Building on what others have said--

Brion Gysin Let The Mice In -- fun early cut-up stuff.

William Burroughs put the last words of Dutch Schultz on his spoken word album, great stuff. Clip here. "Give me some water, the only thing that I want." "But I am dying / No you're not."
posted by salvia at 4:54 PM on July 12, 2006

Flarf, which I'd never heard of, sounds a bit like the Google poems, or "search poems" that a poetry editor friend of mine was doing a few years ago. It became a little mini-movement here in Australia; Cordite magazine did a whole issue of it.

The method is simple: you type a phrase into Google, then fashion a poem from the search results. The original phrase is the poem's title. What's really fascinating is that you could give identical results to several poets and end up with as many completely different poems. It's great fun.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:17 PM on July 12, 2006

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