Poetry Assessor

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The application is designed to determine whether a poem has the characteristics of a professional poem or, alternatively, an amateur poem. The methodology used is described fully here:


To score your poem, copy and paste the poem into the text box and click the Calculate button. Positive scores indicate that a poem has characteristics of a professional poem while negative scores indicate that the poem has the characteristics of an amateur poem.

To re-set the algorithm to score another poem, click Clear Form to empty the text box. You can then repeat the steps above to score another poem.

As an indication of how to interpret the placing of the poem on the scale, Sylvia Plath’s poem Crossing the Water scores 2.53 indicating that it shares more characteristics of a professional poem than an amateur poem. On the other hand, John Laws’ poem There are so many Things scores -2.05 indicating that it is closer to the amateur end of the spectrum.

It should be noted that this application was calibrated using contemporary poems written in English so, although it will generate a score for any given text, the score is only valid for poems written using contemporary English language. Thus, a score generated for song lyrics will not necessarily be valid. Furthermore, random text will also generate a score but the score will not be valid. In short, it is only if you wish to assess a given contemporary English poem that the score will be a valid measure.

Finally, it should be noted that the average word count of the poems used in the sample used to calibrate the system was 156 (maximum 378, minimum 21, St Dev 77). This means that results for poems of less than approximately 80 words should be interpreted with caution.