Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? The New York Times sure does, and the venerable publication is making the most of it with their newest blog, Times Haiku. The blog itself is actually a bot, combing through all of the Times‘s articles from the day and putting them together in neat little haiku packages — naturally displaying in the standard five-seven-five syllable set the poem requires.
“We started with a basic rhyming lexicon, but over time we’ve added syllable counts for words like “Rihanna” or “terroir” to keep pace with the broad vocabulary of The Times,” writes Senior Software Architect and Times hacker Jacob Harris.
Scrolling through the blog, which is powered by Tumblr, one can easily snicker at the randomness of it all — evoking the odd pleasure of other bots like the popular @horse_ebooks, which combs through free ebooks online and takes out snippets of the words. But Harris, who actually reverse-engineered @horse_ebooks to understand the nature of bots, has a little bit more sophistication up his sleeve in the form of careful curation by the Times‘ own journalists, who comb through the bot’s results to find the most interesting poems. Read more