'Darwinian Poetry' is a web project created in 2003 by David Rea in order to determine whether "non-negotiated collaboration" can evolve interesting and intelligent poetry using a process akin to natural selection. Visitors to the site are presented with two poems, both arbitrary splicings of two 'parent' poems. The visitor is asked to select the one s/he finds more appealing, and poems which survive the process of voting go on to be spliced into other 'healthy' poems. Unpopular poems eventually 'die.' The intent is to create, in the long term, poems which are more and more interesting and sensible.

According to the introduction on the site, the poems will, "(i)n all likelihood...both be abysmal pieces of nonsensical garbage. That's ok. All you have to do is read them both and pick the one you find more appealing, for whatever reason. Your decision might be based on a single word that you happen to like. It doesn't matter. Just pick whichever one strikes your fancy." The original poems were constructed from a group of 1000 words selected from such sources as Hamlet and The Iliad. After a year of interbreeding, poems such as these two are beginning to emerge.

Poem #12592

first snowfall
beating beyond the head
with cold knowledge

one dream is and
was again

Poem #12413

frost stands
in buildings where they inmate together
short grave
race love
thou two serious loves
strangers of shading

A number of well-known publications, including New Scientist and Discover magazine, have featured this site in their pages.

Visit Darwinian Poetry at http://www.codeasart.com/poetry/darwin.html

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