tl;dr: Call 206.424.7994 to interactively generate your poem.

In the Fall of 2014 I started playing around with the UbuWeb archive of John Giorno’s Dial-a-Poem poets. I set up an Asterisk telephony service that users could call (yes, on their phones) to get a cutup of a few of the poems from Giorno’s 1969 project.

As part of the project, I wrote a Python script to scrape the all the sound poetry on Ubu’s archives. The script simultaneously split up the audio on pauses or silences, extracted basic information like length, volume, fundamental frequency from the clips, and saved everything to a PostgreSQL database.

To make the project more interactive, I then applied the same concept on the callers – first asking them to record their own poem or random noises which I then split up on silences and analyzed the same way I analyzed the Dial-a-Poem audio. I then matched up the user’s input with Dial-a-Poem audio and played the matches back – creating a sort of poetry mirror. Here is an example: