No, ChatGPT Isn’t a Poet

One of the least discussed aspects of the AI language generator ChatGPT might be its ability to produce pretty awful poetry. Given how difficult it is to teach a computer how to recognize a syllable, I'm not disparaging the technical prowess of the chatbot's creators and testers. But very few of the AI-produced poems I've read follow the prompt that's been provided. “Write a poem in the style of Seamus Heaney”? This is not that poem:

In a garden green and fair, A flower blooms, a sight so rare. But is it meant for me, I fear? Will I like it to bloom this year?

–ChatGPT (poet?)

The odds are good that this poem, titled “Is It for Me?,” will not win the National Poetry Series. The final phrase seems plucked from T. S. Eliot's “ The Waste Land,” which gives the last line an unintended comic air because Eliot is referring to a corpse. Poetry, with its heightened states of emotion, intimate address, ecstatic proclamation, and enchanting song, would seem to be one of the limit cases that prove the point: ChatGPT can write anything we can write. It can indeed compose poems from prompts such as “write a poem the estate tax.” Asked to write a sonnet about socks, it will produce a poem with the opening line “Oh socks, my trusty companions on my feet.” Such goofy attempts could be said to emulate praise poetry, that venerable form of ode-making. They could just […] Getty ; The Atlantic

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