Friday, January 23, 2009


Wordle: map of the folded world

You toss in a bunch of text and it comes up with a pretty word cloud. Try it for yourself. The above picture was generated from the text of my new book, Map of the Folded World, coming soon (there's a page up on for it!). Try it with your text. What do you have to lose?

And here's another for half of a manuscript titled Your Father on the Train of Ghosts.

Wordle: Your Father on the Train of Ghosts - JG half

Seriously, now go play. And get back to me.

It's also instructive. "One" and "Things" are apparently words I like a lot, as they appear very large in both pictures. Who would have thought?

Here are some of the poems from an early version of David Dodd Lee's upcoming book The Nervous Filaments (from Four Way Books):

Wordle: DDL 1

Here is Justin Evans' manuscript, Springville:

Wordle: Springville By Evans

This is an interesting way to consider big blocks of text. I put in the text of the poems from Ron Silliman that I could snag quickly from the Internet (turned out to be 56 pages). Here's what came out.

Wordle: Silliman Bits

It would be an intersting analysis, I would think, to take full text from several poets from different styles or schools, etc, and place their common language clouds together to see if there are differences, and what sort, between them. One this is obvious from the start, Silliman uses fewer words multiple times than do the other texts that I had to hand (I wish I had more. I'll look around. I realize, for one thing, I don't have any full text from a female, which could also be an interesting analysis).

I just found a little pile of text from Jennifer Militello, from her upcoming book from Tupelo. So here it is.

Wordle: Jennifer Militello

OK, last one for now. Here's one for an unpublished prose poem manuscript of mine titled Guidebook. It has a different footprint here than my others. Interesting. I wonder what I think of that.

Wordle: Guidebook

I can imagine this to be a good revision tool, as well as a writing tool. Revision, as it points to words that one might perhaps use too often. And words one miht wish to use more often. Writing, as it can show you the common words of others, and in that it might allow you to attempt something with those words. Wear some else's obsessions for a while.


At 1/23/2009 2:09 PM, Blogger JeFF Stumpo said...

Wordle's a fun tool. Not as useful as a concordance, but it's neat to put Whitman or Dickinson (or any major author with stuff freely available online) into it and see what pops up most often.

My own creations from the Obama-McCain debates:

At 1/23/2009 4:12 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


At 1/24/2009 7:33 PM, Blogger Talia Reed said...

I put in a few news articles and got some pretty neat stuff, too.

I plan on taking my 8th graders to the computer lab to do this with their poetry.

At 1/26/2009 12:29 PM, Blogger Oliver de la Paz said...

I put my Wordle on my blog. I use "like" WAY too much.

At 1/27/2009 2:49 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Oliver: we all do! But that's partially because there are multiple ways to use is. I'm often using it in the "I like trucks" way, not the "spring like a ball of string" way.

At 1/27/2009 8:00 PM, Blogger Colin Sheldon said...

There's a difference in these two ways? Explain.

At 1/28/2009 5:04 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


Don't you think?

"I like going to movies."


"Movies are like silver faucets."

Are such different uses of like! One a simile and the other a mild stating of desire. Right?

WV: mensh

(so close!)


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