Tuesday, July 27, 2010

metropolis word cloud

A friend of mine, Rick Jolly, who is a poet sometimes takes his writings, or the writings of others, and sticks it in the website Wordle and makes a word cloud. A word cloud through Wordle removes the most simple words and takes the rest and arranges them at random. The more often you use a word, the larger it comes out. It sounds like fun, but if you're a word junkie like me what you get is something amazing and beautiful.

On impulse one day recently, Rick stuck my Metropolis ramble blogpost in and zipped me up two separate word clouds...

Look at this thing! Tiny bits of poetry just randomly sprayed all over it. "Doubting created irony" "Flood silent machine" You can run your eyes all over the page and find beauty created by sticking a few words together. This may sound strange but looking at this word cloud, after having composed the original post with all its structure and connections, made me "get" poetry in a way I don't know that I have before. "Time distanced distended" Yow, lovely!

He did a second that ran the words up and down as well as side to side...

Look how "blink" sits in the cup of "story."

Something beautiful happens with the tiny, single words just sitting by themselves here and there.




And next to Machine: oh

The first cloud puts "god" next to "archetypes." The second puts "god" next to "reality."

Every time I start looking, I fall inside and can't get out. Plus I love the fact that this little exercise combines past (language) and future (computers) kind of the way the movie does.

I planned to post these over the weekend and then had trouble with the scan. I'm glad I waited because I got a bonus for the waiting. Rick looked at those word clouds again and decided to compose a poem based on them. Take a look--and then click this link to take a gander at Rick's poetry page on MySpace!

those two represent a much needed uprising
creative maria served a nice lunch of irony
the way forward for a future awaits a bit of dialogue
leaves on feel, films absorbed, neglecting the god archetypes
always on feel for the burnt stake places
the writers machine effectively opens a human maria
winds the watch face moment
irritates a silent ramble for the good maria's soundtrack movie entrance
takes the least world away from history
theater screens stake to waves an actress
as something really human floods the silent machine
conducts a string of electricity stripped
a thinning, stylistically alone man
cracks a look back at something too long past lovely
gives rotwang's music fiend a full hair of
feeling fabulous in time's tenements
constructs a cool sequence of
iconic metropolis upended-
the distance of a night distended often our
beautifully lifting but strange discussions
whole from a brilliant film
like a black wish robot who seems to stop
for profound desk discussions
slick floor needs get an excellent ooze on
happens to fredersen's favorite machine
keeps the cityscape going for the thin Thursday soul
saying oops! at yoshiwara!

That lush scene needs may be doubting their burnt theater parts
That fredersen saw the distanced archetypes watching the night feeling inside them
Like a robot who somehow absorbed all the film's dialogue-
the story maker blinks as waves take maria's friend
slick icons swim back on feel
time lifting abel's tenement moments
fuel the movie problems
the artist constructs a god of cityscapes
witnesses see the reality matched
wished enough to leave the actress
a huge experience of broadness
music machine on course, going to lunch of course,
the iconic creative cracks the day
as rotwang's electricity yipes the flood
of the least long people
stepping often on one lovely illusion
the dirigibles of soul fully manifest a wink world thing
like writers rambling past for the big film discussion
ended alone, each soul takes the outside entrance back in
beautifully thinning, a sort of opening for a
powerful, screen face moment, neglecting all the hair rules,
the lights look strange when they run in rotwang's parade
to their own personal city soundtrack
as strange children double watch the way
while they seem to sit for a cool sequence,
a string of silent moments
stirring a black desk uprising
touching ooze happens


  1. Love it, Gigi. And it seems we’re on the same wavelength. Here’s my Wordle experience, from almost two years ago....

  2. Ok, that is really cool!!

  3. William - so excellent! I love how the word "sometimes" stands tall like a proud thirteen-year-old boy at the top of yours - and how the lowest-hanging word is "beastie." Thanks for sharing!

  4. Love it! Once I started looking at such word clouds as entertainment (and yes, poetry) I stopped cringing when I saw them on library websites. They are supposed to help with searching for similar materials, but are really most powerful in a totally different way....

  5. Wow, I love hearing about it in a new way. Thanks, Shirley. I'll have to take a look to see how they're used on library sites.