As the summer draws to a close, it feels like a good time to take stock of where we are with Poetry by Numbers.
A lot has been achieved. Working with economists, pollsters, programmers and tech founders, our poets have created art. More than that, we’ve created art that has a purpose and enthused our audience.
People have sent me emails saying they’ve used some of our turns of phrase in their presentations and meetings. We’ve created images with words that are now being used outside of high-minded art. That’s a real sign of success.
One of the best parts of running this project is how quickly poets have engaged with it. We’ve had submissions sent in independently, completely unsolicited but very gratefully received. We’ve not published every poem we’ve received but have tried in every instance to provide constructive feedback.
We couldn’t have got this far without the backing of our growing list of contributing poets. I believe poets have embraced the project because data analysis is, at its heart, a search for patterns. Poetry, at its technical core, embraces patterns too.
Whether it’s the rhyming schemes so prevalent in Western poetry or the tight meter structure of ghazals from the Middle East and Indian Sub-Continent, patterns of rhythm and rhyme are found in different cultures of poetry. The language of numbers is present too, referenced in terms including the classic couplets, quatrains and octaves. There’s probably a blogpost to be written on this topic. Keep your eyes peeled for it.
Anyway, we’ve been scheming all summer to make sure we have a stand out autumn. We’ll be publishing more poems, including some created through conversations with data specialists. We’ll also be spreading the word at events and by producing videos of performance poetry. The first event outing for the project will be at The Tech Off on 30 September. I’ll be pitching the value of bringing poetry to data against competing creative technology ideas. Come along and support us, sign up here.
If you’d like to get involved with Poetry by Numbers, either by helping us scheme or by contributing syllables, then please get in touch.