Experimental Poetry 2


two realizations of "signal in the noise"

First, I chose a theme to write about: signal in the noise. Next, I made a grid and made the noise randomly appear in it. You can make the noise anything, but I chose the letters "n", "o", "i", "s", and "e", as well as a "." and a blank.

I made the word "SIGNAL" appear in the grid, by making the letters "S", "I", "G", "N", "A", and "L" appear in the grid. It was important to make these letters display randomly but also in order, so the word "SIGNAL" is there, and not "SGNLAI", or a variety of other combinations. To do this, I reasoned that I have 22 rows in the grid and "SIGNAL" has 6 letters, so I'd need to place a letter from "SIGNAL" every 3 or 4 (=22/6) rows. Then, within each of these areas, I randomize the row and column in which a letter from "SIGNAL" will appear.

The last step was modifying the alignment of the cells in the grid. At first I was doing this by manually selecting cells and choosing various alignments. We can do better than that! In the spreadsheet there a Visual Basic macro I wrote that does this. It looks at each cell in the grid and aligns the text randomly left, center, or right.

To create a poem like this, please see this spreadsheet. Please credit Statisticool.com if you use this idea.

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