Introduction to Poetry Islands


A "poetry island" is my term for a picture/poem, in this case an "island" surrounded by "water". I put those words in quotes, because my original conception, and indeed my Poetry Island 1, is a literal island with literal water. However, the idea can be extended to be more figurative, dare I say poetic. This, I believe, is because the concept of an island, as well as the fight or struggle between the island and what surrounds it, is fairly common in our daily lives. For example, one "island" could be your personal life and the "water" could be work, bills, and so on. Another example, like in my Poetry Island 2, is the island is grape jelly and the ocean is some enterprising black ants. I've made poetry islands, so far, which can be found here.

To make a poetry island, I define a R x C area in Excel, where R is the number of rows and C is the number of columns. Next, I define an area that is the "island". Everything that is not the island is the "water". I make a column of symbols that will be randomly selected to appear in the water and/or the island. One can also make the island bigger, smaller, etc., again, using randomness and conditional probability. Conditional probability can be used to control colors.

The possibilities are endless.

Because we created the poetry island using randomness, we can "refresh" the random numbers to get a totally unique island, ocean, and picture. If the poetry island picture isn't enough, you can also caption the picture with some poetry to gently describe what is going on.

I hope this gave you an idea for creating your own poetry. You can download a spreadsheet to create these here. Feel free to edit the spreadsheet as needed, and please credit if you use this idea.

Thank you for reading and creating.

Check out Poetry and Islands: Materiality and the Creative Imagination

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