“A poem is a small (or large) machine made of words.” — William Carlos Williams
A poetic form is halfway between a set of constraints and a set of instructions. Some of these constraints/instructions are formal (e.g., rhymes, number of syllables) and some are semantic (e.g., what the poem has to be “about”).
- Sonnet (abab cdcd efef gg rhyme pattern; each line in iambic pentameter) Examples
- Haiku (in the common English adaptation of the Japanese tradition: poems of three lines, 5-7-5 syllables; semantically constrained) Examples
- Sestina (sets of six-line stanzas with interweaving rhyme patterns) Examples, Ashbery, Pound
- Limerick (Five line poem with aabba rhyme structure, strict metrical constraints) Baffling profusion of examples
- Lipogram (writing without one letter, or a set of letters) Example
- Pangram (piece of writing containing every letter) Wikipedia thoroughly catalogs the possibilities
- Acrostic (first letter of each line spells out a word)
- Mesostic (any letter in each line spells out a word) Mesostomatic
… and so forth.
Compare and contrast form with techniques such as N+7, cut-ups.
Our question: Which of these forms could be composed by a computer? Which would be impossible to compose with a computer?