Auto-Beatnik Computer Poems


Ladies and Gentlemen … the Auto-Beatnik


In May, 1962, Horizon Magazine published a selection of poems by the “Auto-Beatnik”: a computer program created by R.M. Worthy and others at the Laboratory for Automata Research of the Librascope Division of General Precision, Inc, a company which manufactured computers and other electronic equipment. As the anonymous Horizon scribe explains:

“Librascope engineers, concerned with the problem of effective communication with machines in simple English, first ‘fed’ an LGP 30 computer with thirty-two grammatical patterns and an 850-word vocabulary, allowing it to select at random from the words and patterns to form sentences. The results included “Roses” and “Children”. Then Worthy and his men shifted to a more advanced RPC 4000, fed with a store of about 3,500 words and 128 sentence structures, which produced … more advanced poems.” Here are some selected works by the “Auto-Beatnik”, that “cool calculator” …


Few fingers go like narrow laughs.
An ear won’t keep few fishes,
Who is that rose in that blind house?
And all slim, gracious, blind planes are coming,
They cry badly along a rose,
To leap is stuffy, to crawl was tender.


Sob suddenly, the bongos are moving.
Or could we find that tall child?
And dividing honestly was like praying badly,
And while the boy is obese, all blasts could climb,
First you become oblong,
To weep is unctuous, to move is poor.


Yes, so passionately did my bleak worms live underneath the king.
Ah, few sects smell bland.


The broad sleighs of glass are dashing hungrily,
She is a toilet of dissolute water, and I am those bland melodies.
So, chess was arsenic and gold was beer,
It was a snail of murmuring beer, and I am those angry nets.
He was lustier than the twine and more bold than the shop.
The milk of plates upon many sands of cream was like consummate magnates.


Was Milo mewling thrilling radishes?
So, our anchovies are sad but green.


Yes, illterate is its rowdy, black is his avenue,
Mine is a hay of these dwarfs.
Does he look like a sin of alabaster?
Moreover, food tastes like coy buttermilk.


Ah, so apologetically did their small rowdies cringe beside a tramp.
Beneath a ballad, should a rooster harangue like the prostitute?


Is that the automaton that smells like the tear of grass?
All blows have glue, few toothpicks have wood,
Direct a button but I may battle the ham,
The crafty carnival’s kite daintily massacres the scalp.
Yes, we would, you shall,
Shall I not tighten a moose’s parasite?


The iron mother’s bouquet did rudely call,
Yes, I am as fine as many murmuring crates.
People was braver than snowy hay.
It was dirtiest who bleeds behind the piano.


All girls sob like slow snows.
Near a couch, that girl won’t weep.
Rains are silly lovers, but I am not shy.
Stumble, moan, go, this girl might sail on the desk.
No foppish, deaf, cool kisses are very humid.
This girl is dumb and soft.

(no title)

My corkscrew is like a hurricane,
Under a lamp the nude is vain.
Quiet is my plumber, cruel is your parade.
Yes, its bed mumbles by a barricade,
Usually does a nourishing cannon ordain,
Like salt, no adulterers were insane.
Like gasoline, some battlefields were volatile,
Thus, their revolt will gently drill.


via Primate Poetics! | Value Village Is Booby-Trapped!!
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2 thoughts on “Auto-Beatnik Computer Poems


    “Roses”, “Corsets”, & “Steaks” were printed in a volume of the Life Science Library & were an important part of my childhood.

  2. James McDonald says:

    I read this in high school in 1967 and it prompted me to write my own poetry generator that summer (in Fortran!) — my first AI program.

    I never forgot the lines “Sob suddenly, the bongos are moving”, “She was a toilet of dissolute water”, and “It was dirtiest who bleeds behind the piano”.

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