"Fake" poetry

Judith Ridge Judith.Ridge at det.nsw.edu.au
Mon Jan 31 17:52:39 EST 2005

On 1/2/05 12:44 AM, "hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk"
<hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk> wrote:

> Gili
>> My mother has a couple of doctoral students who wrote papers on whether
>> people can tell "real" poetry from "fake", and whether people rate the same
>> poem differently if they think it was written by a machine as opposed to a
>> famous poet, and vice versa.
> I spent a seminar last week discussing exactly this! Specifically, if the sea
> cast up some shells onto the beach in such a pattern that they resembled the
> written words of a Shakespeare sonnet, would it be a poem, or just a
> poem-shaped pattern? (John Searle discusses something like this, somewhere.)
> Ditto with monkeys and typewriters, I suppose. There was no consensus. Have
> your mother's students carried out experiments on people's reactions to this?
> Charlie

Of course, there was the infamous Ern Malley affair of the 1940s. Two
conservative Australian poets "made up" modernist poetry and submitted it to
a literary journal. There's a very comprehensive website about it:


One of the first in a long line of Australian literary scandals!


Judith Ridge
Editorial Staff
The School Magazine
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Macquarie Centre
NSW 2113
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