Sunday Book-Thought 60

AutoPoet embodied an inappropriate idea of poetry. As long as the goal was the imitation of a human poet – or as long as the poem’s reader was encouraged to think that was the goal – I wasn’t likely to get any farther. What’s wrong with the AutoPoetry I’ve quoted here (and all the other reams of it the machine would produce until it was turned off) is exactly that it’s imitation poetry. All our habits of reading are called upon, all the old expectations, and then let down. “Monologues of Soul and Body” had worked because its “body” sections were so different from human poetry. It had successfully demanded its own way of reading.
Charles O. Hartman, Virtual Muse: Experiments in Computer Poetry (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1996), p. 72.