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ChatGPT/OpenAI and Poetry

Over here in China, ChatGPT is picking up steam and starting to really chug along. There are videos all over social media on how to use AI

to write your essays, prepare you for written exams, find information, etc..

In fact, many of my old students from my uni teaching days have started picking up on how to use ChatGPT for their homework and written exams. It's potentially going to change the way we look at grading and the written word in general. Even my creative writing groups are going on about how AI is going to replace them soon!

Leaving teachers out of this for the moment (they'll be dealing with a lot come essay grading I imagine...), let's take a look at whether or not ChatGPT will be writing all of our poetry from now on. Or at least until it gets replaced by a shinier model.

I started off pretty open ended, just asking it:

"Please write me a completely new four stanza poem about young love."

What I got:

For my vision impaired friends, the AI gave me this poem: "Young love, oh how it glows, Like a flame that forever grows. It starts with a smile, a shy hello, And soon enough, their hearts start to glow.

In the summer, they bask in the sun, Walking hand in hand, having so much fun. They laugh, they dance, they twirl and they spin, Lost in each other, they don't want it to end.

As the leaves fall, and winter draws near, They cuddle close, wiping away each tear. For young love is strong, and they know they'll survive, Through the good times, and the storms they'll thrive.

So they hold on tight, and never let go, For young love, oh how it grows and it glows. Forever entwined, their hearts will beat as one, For young love, oh how it has just begun." There are four stanzas, like I asked, and it seems new enough to me, though very bland. Let's look at how this works as a poem. If I were to be honest, I would change a few things. We don't need the rhyme scheme, the use of seasons here is a bit cliche, "their hearts will beat as one" also suggests a cliche, the use of 'oh' feels old fashioned, definitely don't need to use a capital at the start of every new line, etc.. It's not a poem I would write nor enjoy.

But it does have some positives. There is a turn in the poem, or a place where it changes from the lightheartedness in the first half of the piece to suggesting a different mood in the second half. I'll count the beginning of the third paragraph as marking the turn. There's this following of the seasons to depict the young love, and of course, winter is used to signal entering a period of potential hardship for the couple. The work is also on topic, and if we take out my personal dislike for rhyme, it's really not that bad.

I did try to make the AI kill the rhyme scheme. I focused on the last stanza and tried to get rid of the rhyme scheme in those last four lines. Let me show you how that went:

Note how it went from bright and light, to bright and night, light and night. There is definitely a lot to be desired when it comes to teaching the AI to kill off rhymes (and in my own spelling when typing! Sorry!).

I wonder how long it'll take to fix this problem? It must just be a matter of inputting some phonetic knowledge into the program? But who knows, maybe AI will be perpetually cursed to write rhyming poetry.

Perhaps for now, creative writing instructors should ask students to write poetry that doesn't rhyme. Maybe that could help them avoid receiving something written by ChatGPT or its bros.

Now. Onto the real interesting part (for me anyway, I'm biased). I have been struggling for a while to get together a workshop group for poetry. Living in a foreign country where the main language isn't English and a ton of foreigners GTFO'd due to policy changes makes this exceptionally difficult.

So, I started asking the AI lady to help me troubleshoot my poems. Not rewrite lines for me, there have to be boundaries. However, she was very useful in help me realize where I should use certain types of enjambment for one of my slush poems, and telling me when my poem wasn't really hitting.

I could totally see more people deciding to try and use AI in an ethically appropriate way for revision. There is a dangerous edge there where you may be tempted to ask the bot to completely re-write your work, but remember! You could/would never ask someone in a workshop to do that, so why do it here?

Use the new AI generation carefully!

And lets talk soon~ -Mea

My writing in-progress links:

To check out what I'm writing: Drone Girl: (Hiatus)

Where Nightmares Roam:

To support the author (me!):

My Patreon:

Some photos of what I've been up to:

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