Poetry Versus Prose: a Visual Experiment

Thanks to Jason for turning me on to Wordle. It's a simple program designed to take in text, and spit out attractive word clouds.

My MFA Thesis consists of three parts: a book-length collection of poems, an essay on Seamus Heaney, and a bibliography. According to the Wordle website, "If you do not save your Wordle to the gallery, no information leaves your workstation at any time." So, I felt comfortable pasting the culmination of two years of hard work in to the site.

First, the essay:

Then, the poems:

As you can see, even though I generated them with different coloring, the word clouds still have a unique impact based on the words alone. Whereas the essay is dominated by a few words, my poems are swarming with numerous smaller words (i.e. less frequently repeated)--and, of course, "like" reigns supreme over my similes.

Just walking my eyes over the clusters of different-sized words is itself a somewhat poetic experience, akin to the hybrid art of visual poetry. So, there you have it--all the words of my creative thesis (minus the bibliography), de-duped and laid out for your delectation. Hmm... "delectation"... now there's a word I should use more often!

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