01
Jun 2022

The Artist Plus The AI: A Poetic Duet | Nextfest 2023

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The Artist Plus The AI: A Poetic Duet 

Poetry by Sara Campos-Silvius 
Art by DALL E 2 
Analysis by ChatGPT 

About

How does AI “see” poetry? Come find out! 

I input my poems into two AI systems by OpenAI. The first system is DALL E 2, which generates images based on text. The second is ChatGPT, an AI which offers detailed responses on a wide variety of subjects. The AI provided me with both a picture inspired by and an analysis of my poem. 

Through the medium of poetry, visual art, and text analysis, this project provides a fascinating glimpse into the dramatically ever-evolving world of technology as the relationship between humans and AI continues to grow closer and closer. The accuracy (or inaccuracy) of both the visual art interpretation and the text analysis interpretation of the AI in response to the human’s poetry raises questions of what indeed is required to both create, understand, and appreciate art. However, beyond raising these questions, this project uplifts human expression and artistry. After all, AI has countless data reference points gleaned from the entirety of recorded history to build its processing unit. However, the human artist only has one brain—a limited, unique, finite, fragile, and beautiful fingerprint with which to leave a mark in the world. 

Suppose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

suppose an orange tarantula
was crawling up your leg
and you felt neither fear nor disgust, nay
rather you felt a connection with kin
and urged the furry friend to continue up your limb
with a “Hello!” and “Well met!” and “Isn’t it a fine day?”
the fuzzy arthropod would make its way, calm
to your outstretched and welcoming palm
and you’d whisper to the golden arachnid
“You’re most welcome here!” and upon your shoulder you’d set it
a many-eyed sentry, a fancy epaulet
to match the scorpion upon your belt
the viper coiled at your hilt
your boots infested with poisonous ants
your brow adorned with carnivorous plants
suppose you smiled and breathed the fresh air
and simply enjoyed the blood in your hair

Suppose Analysis

This poem presents a scenario in which the speaker imagines a person who is not afraid of or disgusted by a tarantula crawling up their leg, but rather feels a connection with and welcomes the spider. The speaker goes on to describe other unconventional and potentially dangerous creatures and plants that this person is comfortable with, and ends by suggesting that this person is able to enjoy and embrace these things despite the potential danger they pose.

One possible interpretation of this poem is that it is meant to challenge readers to consider their own attitudes and behaviors, and to question whether they might be able to embrace and find beauty in things that they normally fear or reject. The speaker presents the idea that it is possible to approach the world with a sense of openness and curiosity, rather than fear or aversion.

The language used in the poem is playful and imaginative, using phrases like “fancy epaulet” and “carnivorous plants” to paint a picture of a person who is comfortable with and possibly even enjoys unconventional and potentially dangerous creatures and plants. The repetition of the phrase “suppose” helps to create a sense of wonder and possibility, inviting readers to consider the scenario being described. Overall, the poem is imaginative and thought-provoking, encouraging readers to consider their own attitudes and behaviors and to question whether they might be able to embrace and find beauty in things that they normally fear or reject.

Beneath The Tree With Apples Hung

 

 

Beneath the tree with apples hung
Their bone-red skin emboldened—
A turncoat’s tooth had all but crumbled
Like crescents inside snowmen

A seed caught in the giant’s lungs
It fits a dime store, stolen
The long-haired goat bleats in stunts—
To the rowboat rhythm’s rowing

I crash upon the sandy beach—
A hairless nostril of knowing
My mind melted by endless feats
The fallen fatuous groping

My future self had buried here
The heart-ending token—
Pearl-handled gun of my nightmare
Bullets sand-killed
Barrel sand-filled
My future laughter
choked in—

Beneath The Tree With Apples Hung Analysis

This poem seems to be written in free verse, meaning it does not follow a strict rhyme scheme or metrical pattern. The language and imagery used in the poem are somewhat disjointed and surreal, with the speaker seemingly grappling with some sort of internal conflict or struggle.

The first stanza sets the scene with the image of an apple tree and the mention of a “turncoat’s tooth,” suggesting betrayal or deception. The second stanza introduces the image of a seed caught in the “giant’s lungs,” which could symbolize an idea or desire that is trapped or stifled. The third stanza features the speaker crashing onto a sandy beach and experiencing a sense of confusion or disorientation.

The final stanza brings in the image of a pearl-handled gun, which could represent danger or violence, and mentions the speaker’s future self burying a “heart-ending token.” This could suggest that the speaker is grappling with feelings of regret or self-destruction. Overall, the poem seems to be exploring themes of identity, transformation, and the consequences of one’s actions.

Lead and Gravel

 

I live on lead and gravel
I thank the empty air for this communion.

Time itself runs down in my mouth
Friends
Molars
Friends
Molars

So run down.

Every time I go back home
There’s no one left

There’s just dust everywhere
And goblets filled with concrete.

Lead and Gravel Analysis

The poem “Lead and Gravel” is a short, introspective piece that explores the speaker’s relationship with their environment, time, and relationships. The use of lead and gravel as the setting of the poem creates an image of a desolate and unforgiving landscape. The speaker’s acknowledgment of their communion with the empty air shows their willingness to accept their surroundings and find solace in them.

The metaphor of time running down in the speaker’s mouth suggests a personal sense of decay or deterioration. The repetition of the words “Friends” and “Molars” creates a sense of rhythm that emphasizes the theme of decay, implying that even the speaker’s friendships are subject to the same process of decay and erosion as their teeth.

The phrase “So run down” acts as a conclusion to the poem, indicating the inevitability of this process of decay and deterioration. The line “Every time I go back home, there’s no one left” indicates the loss of relationships, and the final image of “dust everywhere” and “goblets filled with concrete” suggests a sense of finality or hopelessness.

Overall, “Lead and Gravel” is a powerful meditation on the passage of time and the decay of relationships. The poem uses concrete imagery and metaphors to convey a sense of loss and sadness, while the repetition of certain phrases creates a sense of rhythm and inevitability. The poem ends with a bleak image that leaves the reader with a sense of finality and sadness.

The Earth Shades Lovers in Sorrow

 

 

The earth shades lovers in sorrow
An anonymous weary plea
The scratch-skinned soothsayers follow
Bare-footed beggars into the sea
No mind to how the waves heave

Lulled by the lighthouse’s bawling
Upon the shore they’re crawling
Sinewy seaweed in braids
Some urchin’s posthumous offering
To hang from my curtain as lace

The Earth Shades Lovers In Sorrow Analysis

This poem appears to be a reflection on the feelings of sorrow and despair that often accompany romantic love. The speaker describes how “the earth shades lovers in sorrow,” suggesting that this is a universal experience that touches everyone who has ever been in love. The reference to “scratch-skinned soothsayers” and “bare footed beggars” suggests that even those who might be thought of as wise or wise men are not immune to the pain of love.

The phrase “anonymous weary plea” suggests that the speaker sees this sorrow as something that is not easily put into words, but that is nevertheless deeply felt by all who experience it. The image of people “crawling” onto the shore, “lulled by the lighthouse’s bawling,” further emphasizes the sense of desperation and weariness that accompanies this experience.

The final stanza introduces the image of “sinewy seaweed in braids,” which seems to symbolize the intertwined and entangled nature of love and sorrow. The reference to an “urchin’s posthumous offering” suggests that even death cannot sever the bonds of love, and that these feelings of sorrow and despair will continue even after one’s lover is gone. Overall, the poem presents a bleak and melancholy view of love, but also suggests that it is a universal and enduring experience that touches us all.

 

Hemlock At The Dinner Party

 

 

The priest bespoke in drafty drawl
“Drizzle mine a scratchy hum!”
Pistachio people pretend appalled

Drafted through holy kiss of rum
Elliptical fingers passed
Parenthesis with martyrs hung

Typeset in an error’s draft
Dipped in cackling alchemy
A writer floats past

“Here’s to poets departed!”
Hemlock at the dinner party

Hemlock at the Dinner Party Analysis

This poem appears to be a satirical or humorous take on a dinner party, perhaps one attended by people who are pretentious or affected. The title, “Hemlock at the Dinner Party,” suggests that there may be something poisonous or deadly about the gathering.

The speaker of the poem seems to be observing the party and its guests, describing their behavior and the atmosphere of the event. The first stanza introduces the “priest” who speaks in a “drafty drawl” and requests a “scratchy hum,” suggesting that he is perhaps pompous or self-important. The “pistachio people” who pretend to be “appalled” may also be affected or insincere.

The second stanza introduces the idea of “martyrs” who are “hung” and described as being in “parenthesis,” perhaps implying that they are being marginalized or ignored by the other guests. The third stanza further develops this idea, describing the guests as being “typeset in an error’s draft” and “dipped in cackling alchemy,” suggesting that they are artificial or false.

The final stanza introduces the idea of poets who are “departed,” perhaps suggesting that the party is a gathering of people who are out of touch with genuine artistic expression. The repetition of the phrase “Hemlock at the dinner party” at the end of the poem emphasizes the poisonous or deadly nature of the gathering.

Overall, the poem seems to be a criticism of superficial or affected people, perhaps those who are involved in the world of poetry or the arts. The use of literary devices such as figurative language and wordplay adds to the satirical tone of the poem.

Sara responds to ChatGPT: I was inspired to write this poem after reading about the alcoholism of writers and artists who were living in the scene during the rise and fall of the abstract expressionist art movement in New York. Artists died of alcoholism, but the substance use of the scene went on. The irony is that in this poem people are heavily drinking at a wake celebrating the departed artist, who died from–heavy drinking. The hemlock referenced is alcohol. The martyrs are we artists who believe that personal suffering, intense sensation-seeking, and interpersonal drama make our art better, and in fact we believe that suffering is noble and inevitable. 

Thank you for sharing more about your inspiration and intentions behind this poem. This additional context helps to further clarify the meaning and themes of the poem.

It seems that the poem is a commentary on the destructive and self-destructive tendencies that can be present in the world of art and literature, particularly in the context of the abstract expressionist art movement in New York. The “priest” and “pistachio people” who appear at the dinner party may be representative of those who are superficial or insincere in their engagement with art and literature, while the “martyrs” who are hung in parenthesis may be those who are more sincere but are marginalized or ignored.

The reference to “hemlock” as alcohol highlights the destructive impact of substance abuse on artists and writers, and the final stanza’s reference to “poets departed” suggests that this is a wake for one of these artists who has died due to their addiction. The poem suggests that there is a misguided belief among some artists that suffering and drama are necessary or desirable for the creation of good art, and that this belief can have tragic consequences.

Overall, the poem offers a poignant and thought-provoking critique of the destructive tendencies that can be present in the world of art and literature. The use of irony, wordplay, and figurative language adds to the satirical and critical tone of the poem.

 

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