The whacky art of Lullian poetry

The article describes a Lullian poetry generator in PHP, the idea for which was inspired from Clifford Rickover’s wonderful and eclectic, The Loom of God. The idea is attributed to Ramon Lull, a Spanish theologian, who lived around the 13th century. Lull believed that every branch of knowledge was governed by simple basic principles, and that we could explore all knowledge by evaluating all possible combinations of those principles.

The design for the Lullian poetry sprouts from this premise. The Lullian generator works by randomly selecting words and phrases which are then placed in a pre-defined ‘Semantic Schema’. The philosophical idea being that randomly chosen words can be used to stimulate the mind in producing startling fictional plots and verbal imagery that you might not otherwise consider.

Take the following example short poems generated by the program. Although the resulting poems are nothing like the ones you would ordinarily encounter, the real facet of the poems is their whimsical nature of word combinations, sometimes ridiculously so.
Read More