(Frank McNally’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 12/13.)

I know that, given enough time, a monkey with a typewriter could compose the works of (Frank McNally'. But I’d be more optimistic about something in that line emerging, eventually, from a Twitter account called Pentametron. Created by a New York-based artist, Pentametron is a computer search-bot that scours the Twitter universe for comments in accidental iambic pentameter, then matches them at random with rhyming others. 

And from the bonfire of inanities that is the raw material, it frequently creates something almost profound, or even, on occasion, beautiful.

As I write this, for example, its most recent couplet unites tweeted comments from two young females, unconnected and on different continents. One laments: “*sigh* me and my ideas *longer sigh*”. The other: “You never even bothered to reply”.

Separately, the tweets sound like standard teenage moans. Together, they achieve not only a certain poetry, but also express something about the loneliness of the human condition. Well, nearly.


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