Sonnetizing the Singularity by Richard Holeton

Issue 13


Think artistic aptitude resembling
The development of new exhibits
And a human counterpart assembling
Its masses and thereby increasing its
Nucleic acids: a structure throughout.
Of this which the author argues his case
Arming this project (Ray Kurzweil) about
Poems and storing that protein embrace.
That the brain receives input from the arts
(The computer is not a Picasso
Since we already have maximum hearts)
This suggests no robotic Tomasso
Can overcome a stuck arithmetic
Or model many patterns syncretic.


Second generation simulated
Patterns underlying biology,
And sufficiently high, unabated,
To continue training (tautology) —
A human level of concentration.
The universe to become, that forebears
Expected before the inflammation
Of the atmosphere, will provide base pairs
Faster. Evidence civilization
Achieves the infinite, but because least,
Remains critical approximation
To technology, or measurement feast.
If neural scanning is most effective,
Your result — exponential perspective.


We undertake immune responses more
Than the relatively slow, extensive
Procedure to eventually restore,
Create individualized defensive
Government regulation improvements.
Whether or not it is existential
To ask this question (with global movements’
Dramatic culmination, sequential),
Are the nervous system genes accurate
A mere twenty years? If expectations
Are you’re suggesting that’s inaccurate,
The represented mechanizations
In regard to the limits we discussed
Are evolutionary cosmic dust.

Source: Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near.

Method: To expand slightly on the method for “Sonnetizing the Singularity,” I used an open-source Python program by Ross Goodwin called “Sonnetizer,” which generates Shakespearean sonnets from a text corpus that you input. I input the entire text of Ray Kurzweil’s book “The Singularity is Near” (Viking, 2005), which is available online, and let the program generate dozens and dozens of sonnets. I then selected what I felt were the most promising ones, mixed and matched a few lines here and there from different sonnets, and did some minimal editing for sense and syntax (e.g., subject-verb agreement). In a few cases I substituted different words for what the computer program generated, but words always still from the Kurzweil text corpus.

Richard Holeton is author of the critically-recognized hypertext novel _Figurski at Findhorn on Acid_, other electronic literature, and fiction or hybrid work in many journals including the Indiana Review, Mississippi Review, ZYZZYVA, Black Ice, and Vassar Review. His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell Colony, Brown Foundation, and California Arts Council. Formerly a teacher and administrator at Stanford University, he lives and writes on the coast near Half Moon Bay, California.