Computer-mining poetry from the New York Times's obituary headlines

The standard format for a New York Times lead obit headline goes NAME, AGE, Dies; STATEMENT OF ACCOMPLISHMENT (e.g. "Suzanne Mitchell, 73, Dies; Made Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders a Global Brand.

Parker Higgins (previously) grabbed about 1,000 of these "who phrases" from a year's worth of New York Times back-issues and fed them to pronouncing, a Python tool that finds rhymes in text, and asked it to compose a rhyming poem out of the Times's obit heds.

What emerged is a lovely piece of half-Seussian/half-Addamsian doggerel:

i found myself thinking of an old soul
who made the dallas cowboys cheerleaders a global brand,
who built and ruled world soccer with firm hand,
whose radio show twanged for decades,
who fought racial barriers in building trades,
who delivered in the clutch,
who wrote adolescent novels with a personal touch,
whose b-1 bomber recast the cold war,
who fictionalized medicine’s absurdity and gore,
who promoted n.w.a. and gangsta rap,
who bridged racial gap,
who chronicled his cancer fight,
who set ‘the wicker man’ cult alight,
who embraced gonzo journalism,
who lost his prime to racism,
who led sicilian mafia clan,
who took aim at iran,
who shaped venture capitalism,
who shifted to optimism,
who wrote of colonialism and racism,
who preached pacifism,
who won a round-the-world race,
who quit in pentagon papers case,
who wrote of madness and isolation,
who helped turn wlir into a radio destination,
who helped pave way for head start,
who elevated blown glass to fine art,
whose furniture evoked sensuality,
who examined puerto rican identity,
who saw literary criticism as art,
who gave the rolling stones their start,
whose bleak fiction won the booker prize,
who shaped foreign ties,
who put the @ sign in email,
who shaped geometries on a bold scale.

rhyming “who phrases” from new york times obituary headlines [Parker Higgins]

(Image: Haunted Mansion Tombstones, Jay Malone, CC-BY)

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