Automated constrained poetry, made from Markov Chains and Project Gutenberg

A "Snowball" is a poem "in which each line is a single word, and each successive word is one letter longer." Nossidge built an automated Snowball generator that uses Markov Chains, pulling text from Project Gutenberg. It's written in C++, with code on GitHub. The results are rather beautiful poems (these ones are "mostly Dickens"):

o
we
all
have
heard
people
believe
anything

i
am
the
dawn
light
before
anybody
expected
something
disorderly

i
am
the
very
great
change

Snowball (also called a Chaterism) (via Waxy)

10

  1. Thanks for the code!  I have a load of text from wikipedia sitting around, so thought I’d give it a try.  The tone is a bit different to the Dickens ones – they can start well:
    1 o
    2 my
    3 new
    4 moon
    5 comes
    …but quickly fall apart…
    6 within
    7 unicode
    8 standard
    9 available
    10 ammunition
    11 technicians

    More:
    s is for sale price rising rapidly changing
    o my ass will shake
    o he has five wives became humbled
    o my new body moves inward
    a uk bbc film actor robert carlyle
    i am jin
    o to dig near otego
    o in art film porky
    a dj for very large havana
    o my new rome which proved already accounts attribute
    o of tim from these topics
    o my ass will raise speeds without blocking
    o my leg deep level higher seating
    o on bbc look north indian affairs required pollution
    o by law more synth
    o to the host super league against kasabian

  2. Hi all! I’m the guy that wrote this. I’ve also updated the code so that it creates “Melting Snowballs” where each line shortens by one letter. You can find it here: http://nossidge.tumblr.com/post/49012378444/
    They don’t tend to be as pretty to read as the conventional Snowballs, but I’m sure you chaps can find some good results.

  3. On certain fora in the pre-HTTP Internet, such as the Scary Devil Monastery, there was much resort made to Brick-Texting, and the occasional snowball, which included snowballs were each line could have more than one word. (Monospaced font, and no funny stuff with punctiation.)

    I
    am
    not
    that
    great
    at the 
    artform
    known as
    bricktext
    as you can see, but I did try.

  4. For those of you who can’t C++, I’ve compiled the code into a EXE file, which should work on Windows 7. You can get it here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6zba0a3qwfokrmc/Snowball20130428.exe
    It will take input text from a file called “input-raw.txt” which you can fill with whatever text you like. To use the same one that I am using, go here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/792mrvaojl9iyu6/input-raw.txt
    You’ll notice many words that are “xxxxxx” in my text. These are words that I’ve removed because they don’t look great in the resulting poems; things like names and foreign words. The code will ignore any instances of “xxxxxx”.

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