Poetry by a Chinese robot, Billy Collins on trying to make readers feel one is “alone with the poet,” & “Thug Notes”


Is this a good poem?

The rain is blowing through the sea

A bird in the sky

A night of light and calm


Now in the sky

Cool heart

The savage north wind

When I found a new world

It was written by a Chinese robot named Xiaoice.

Chinese poetry scholars are not happy.

Read more: “Chinese poetry scholars are ‘disgusted’ by a new book written by a robot” – Chris Weller – Business Insider – 6/7/17


Here’s Billy Collins on whether poetry can serve as an antidote to Twitter, where the virtual self can become a substitute for the actual social self, which “seems to be a bit dangerous in terms of one’s conception of the self”:

“I think poetry is a legitimate form of privacy, whereas social media is, I would say, the willing forfeiture of your privacy. In a lot of good poetry, one gets the feeling that you’re alone with the poet. That’s certainly the way I try to make my readers feel. I hardly have any people in my poems. My parents will show up. A dog might stroll across the page. But I’m basically alone with the reader. My poetry is not about other people, it’s about me and the reader. Poetry is different than public language. It should be more intimate and it’s just an entirely different way of perceiving and expressing.”

Billy Collins on Twitter, Politics, and Poetry – Michael Lee-Murphy – Connecticut Magazine – June 8, 2017

And! A coworker introduced me to “Thug Notes” today.  They’re profane and intentionally crass, but many of the books talked about (“Lolita,” for ex) are already pretty crass underneath their pretty language.  This is funny informative literary stuff–good to sneak to teenagers. Here’s Poe’s “The Raven:”

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