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Fun with words

On the The Loft Literary Center Writer’s Block blog today, Valerie Cabrera shared this post, which mentions the Google Poetics blog.

Valerie muses about the “found poem” writing technique, and how a Google autocomplete list, while random, can be quite profound:

Although Google isn’t Burroughs, or Shakespeare, or Dickinson, it still manages to shed light on the inner workings of the human mind, our wild hopes and our bizarre fears, our absurd worries and our crazy wonderings.

I have many times enjoyed the fun of playing with Google autocomplete. There was a social media meme going around awhile back to post the top autocomplete suggestions for “[your name] needs”. Here are my current ones:

Katie needs money monday
Katie needs kickstarter
Katie needs twitter

Another bit of fun I used to have with Google was to take a phrase and run it through Google translate, through at least five different languages, and then translate it back into its home language. The results were often tear-jerkingly funny. Alas, Google Translate has gotten a lot better over the years, and the phrases wind up fairly close to what you started with. (That, or I’m just not as good at coming up with connivingly difficult sentences to translate at the moment.)

I got a sweet deal, and I feel like a million bucks.
English>German>Japanese>Swedish>Thai>Bengali>English
I have a sweet deal, and I feel like a million.

I have a fond memory of accompanying a friend to her friend’s band practice in a sketchy empty warehouse and entertaining myself by tearing words out of a pile of abandoned newspapers and creating found poetry on the floor.

And who can forget Magnetic Poetry?

What kinds of fun do you have with words?

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