Louis Esterhuizen. Om ‘n gedig objektief te kan beoordeel

 

Ons almal weet watter tameletjie die “objektiewe” beoordeling van ‘n gedig is; veral omrede ‘n gedig op soveel verskillende maniere met haar onderskeie lesers in gesprek tree. Nou het dit gebeur dat – in ‘n poging om die waardebepaling van ‘n gedig op meer vaste grond te plaas – ‘n  groep Australiese rekenaarkundiges onder leiding van Michael Coleman Dalvean ‘n rekenaarprogram ontwikkel het wat ‘n bepaalde gedig gradeer aan die hand van hoe “professioneel” óf “amateuragtig” die gedig is. Dalvean en genote se bevindings is dan nou ook as artikel gepubliseer in die Australian National University se tydskrif vir Literary and Linguistic Computing.

Uit die inleidende paragraaf, die volgende: “The purpose of this paper is to examine what distinguishes a ‘professional’ poem from an ‘amateur’ poem. The central idea here is that professional poets are more likely than amateur poets to have grasped the basic skills associated with writing poetry and have therefore been able to produce poems of lasting quality. Amateurs, on the other hand, are less likely to have mastered the basic required skills and are therefore less likely to have produced work of lasting quality. Intuitively, we know that there are differences between the skills of amateurs and professionals in various fields and we are quick to make aesthetic judgments based on our raw subjective responses. However, the objective quantification of the factors that lead to such responses is rarely considered  By using computational linguistics it is possible to objectively identify the characteristics of professional poems and amateur poems. This way an objective basis for our subjective responses can be identified […] The upshot of identifying the characteristics of high quality poems is that we can then come up with a means of placing poems on a continuum according to how much a poem exemplifies the characteristics of an amateur poem or, at the other extreme, a professional poem. We can then use this continuum to rank professional poems and, in doing so, we can make some objective statements about which poems are ‘better’.”

By hierdie skakel kan jy jou eie (of ‘n ander gunsteling) gedig gaan gradeer: “To score you 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.”

Volgens die berig by The Poetry Foundation het Sylvia Plath se gedig “Edge” besonder goed presteer met ‘n telling van 1.42. (Haar gedig volg heelonder vir jou leesplesier.) Daarteenoor registreer Elizabeth Bishop se gedig “One Art” byvoorbeeld ‘n betreklik teleurstellende -2.50.

Maar hoe vergelyk ons eie digters? Ek het sommer vinnig-vinnig deur Versindaba se (Engelse) vertaalkamers gesnuffel en die volgende (enkele lukrake voorbeelde) gevind: Elisabeth Eybers se gedig “Maria” behaal ‘n punt van -0.37, met Ingrid Jonker se “Bitter-berry Daybreak” selfs nog slegter daaraan toe met -3.16. Breyten Breytenbach se “reading Li Bai” registreer darem ‘n verdienstelike 0.89, terwyl Charl-Pierre Naudé se “Two Thieves” die klokke lui op ‘n indrukwerkkende 2.03, met Joan Hambidge se “Tokyo” op 2.58 en my eie “that she lies beside you” op ‘n salige 2.72 en ons webmeester, Marlise Joubert se “woman in Kandahar” op ‘n allemintige 3.32 …

Mmmm, dis natuurlik nou met die Amerikaanse (kontemporêre) digkuns as maatstaf.  (Maar hel, wat is volgende? Sogenaamde “perfekte” gedigte wat deur rekenaars geskryf word?! Sug.)

***

 

Edge

 

The woman is perfected.   

Her dead

 

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,   

The illusion of a Greek necessity

 

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,   

Her bare

 

Feet seem to be saying:

We have come so far, it is over.

 

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,   

One at each little

 

Pitcher of milk, now empty.   

She has folded

 

Them back into her body as petals   

Of a rose close when the garden

 

Stiffens and odors bleed

From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

 

The moon has nothing to be sad about,   

Staring from her hood of bone.

 

She is used to this sort of thing.

Her blacks crackle and drag.

 

(c) Sylvia Plath (Uit: Collected Poems, 1992: HarperCollins Publishers.)

 

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21 Kommentare op “Louis Esterhuizen. Om ‘n gedig objektief te kan beoordeel”

  1. Jasper van Zyl :

    Weet nou nie of dit juis tot die debat bydra nie, maar wil darem net noem dat my gedig “side-effects” ‘n allemintige 2.8 score.

    Take that, Sylvia Plath!

    Wys jou net wat genialiteit kan doen.

    we are moving through the lily fields
    at long night, the sky spotted with dust clouds
    that follow us at ever-closer distance.

    reaching water, we skip,
    dodging squid-bodies that line the escarpment.

    when fleeing, one is able to switch
    between senses,
    to navigate a lake by ear.

    floating upon the swamp-lands,
    the sky is cracked by branches
    that linger wearily overhead,

    the water still, it lines the shadows
    that creep from the shore, even paddling
    does nothing.

  2. Louis :

    Jasper, hier is geen debat nie … Dis pure binnepret. Ek dink alle digters met Engelse vertalings gaan toets hulle s’n. En ek begeer dat hulle – soos jy – hulle tellings met gedigte hier wil plak. Sal tog lekker wees om te sien of iemand Marlise se 3.32 gaan klop. (Ek kon nie een kry nie; maar toegegee, ek het nie veel tyd gehad om te snuffel nie …)

  3. adriaan :

    het 3.6 gekry vir die outjie:

    A short strut to Moegoeung

    i was ordered, john said, to rush back
    from expanding the universe,
    to some pitiful party and illustrate how
    to shove a mountain into a drop… i kid you not:
    this broad church of narrow minds had a tollgate.
    i had to fish for a bloody bill
    before being granted access to Sjjjtraat.
    the gardener, some clock-watcher
    hiding his time in the sand
    stuck in clumps of fevers
    that damaged the road.
    a sugarbush threw confetti
    as a bridal pair went
    in the opposite direction,
    like a fire. the children told me
    they were famished.
    this noisy drinking house on the hill
    had a menu of meals
    and no ingredients in the kitchen.
    (the fly is never far from the cookie jar).
    behind the scenes a whore
    was bleeding out in a cup
    whilst all attendants chose to believe
    the mouth of mediocrity
    rambling on about the curtain being stuck.
    knock knock, i heard upon leaving,
    the vaal tsotsi say

  4. Jasper van Zyl :

    Nee, Louis, ek weet! Ek speel sommer!

  5. Jasper van Zyl :

    Ek sal eintlik nogal graag die rekenaarprogram se “perfekte gedig” wou sien. Sal seker so iets wees:

    101010101110011

    11011001110011
    110 11011 111 111000

    00011001100 1101 1 111101
    11010 110101 111110 100110
    11011 1110
    11101110
    11000111000111
    0110

    110101

  6. René Bohnen :

    Ek score ‘n 3.1 – Duidelik weet Amerika nie wat hulle mis nie, so met Marlise aan die voorpunt en ons klomp briljantes saam:-)

  7. Marlise :

    De Waal Venter – jy klop my! Jou gedig registreer 4.2!!!

    The cognate hunter

    The hunter
    kept very quiet,
    listening for his prey –
    then he heard it:
    mother.
    She slowly moved into full view,
    it took his breath away.
    The others followed
    at a sedate pace, peacefully, unperturbed:
    mme, moeder, mutter, maTR, mAtU, mor, moder.
    On their heels an enormous shape
    emerged, silently moved forward,
    a living entity,
    solid as a mountain:
    man.
    And on his heels:
    monna, Mann, människor, menneske, mene, manute.

    The hunter watched silently,
    listening to the sounds of birds
    in the trees,
    the chatter of monkeys,
    the alarmed bark of the zebras,
    the grunt of a leopard,
    the laughter of the girls at the river.

    He thought of the blood
    in all their bodies,
    red blood.

    © De Waal Venter

  8. Hallo Marlise

    Dis hoogs vermaaklik! ‘n Masjien wat poësie beoordeel 🙂 Ek wonder of die ding nie net sommer lukraak punte gee nie. Ek sou baie graag wou uitvind watter kriteria die program gebruik. Hoe definieer dit “professioneel” en “amateuragtig”?

  9. charl-pierre naude :

    Al wat ek weet is dat as ek ‘n masjien was sou ek aan Adriaan 10.5 gee vir daardie frase “die vaal tsotsi”. Hoe op aarde gaan die Oz masjien so ‘n frase beoordeel? 🙂

  10. Marlise :

    @ De Waal: probeer hierdie skakel vir meer inligting, wel, vir wat dit werd is…: https://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/9722/1/Dalvean_RankingContemporary2013.pdf

    “The purpose of this paper is to examine what distinguishes a “professional” poem
    from an “amateur” poem. The central idea here is that professional poets are more likely than
    amateur poets to have grasped the basic skills associated with writing poetry and have therefore been able to produce poems of lasting quality.”

  11. Dankie, Marlise. Ek gaan kyk. Hierdie besigheid interesseer my baie. Ek wonder of daar dalk êrens ‘n bietjie nut kan wees in die ding.

  12. René Bohnen :

    Oeps, dis Oz, nie Amerika nie.

  13. Hallo Marlise

    Ek het ‘n paar van my eie gedigte getoets om te kyk of ek nie kan agterkom wat die program as maatstawwe gebruik om te beoordeel nie.

    In gedigte waar daar neologismes of woorde voorkom wat as spelfoute beskou kan word, is die tellings laer. Ek het ook ‘n Engelse vertaling van ‘n ander digter van ‘n Neruda gedig getoets. Die telling was 0.4.

    My teorie is dat die program Neruda se ongewone sinswendinge en oorspronklike beelde en metafore as “foute” beskou. Dit is asof daar voorkeur gegee word aan”oorspronklikheid”, maar volgens aanvaarde en logiese taalgebruik.

    Die gedig van my hieronder het ‘n 4.6 telling gekry. Hierdie gedig het ooreenkomste met my ander gedig wat ook meer as 4 gekry het. Dit lyk amper vir my of die program “hou van” verwysings na taal en linguistiese aspekte.
    ………….

    The parsimonious English Tongue

    The English Tongue
    moves on a narrow path;
    it deigns to produce
    only a certain range of sounds.

    The English Tongue
    does not trill its r,
    it does not smack and click
    like the Tongues of the Xhosa and the San.

    The English Tongue
    never comes close
    to the guttural g
    of Afrikaans,
    and it stiffly ignores
    the diphthongs of French,
    the squat å and ö of the Swedes.

    The English Tongue
    can express the finest of feelings,
    the most profound philosophies,
    the intricacies of the inner workings
    of atoms,
    all with its limited array of sounds.

    What if, one day,
    inexplicably,
    the English Tongue
    arrives in Gobabis?

    © De Waal Venter

  14. Marlise :

    @De Waal – hierdie program hou beslis baie van jou gedigte! ek dink jy is die ideale persoon om vir ons dieselfde of soortgelyke program te ontwerp om Afrikaanse gedigte te toets! 🙂 Eintlik soek ek ‘n program om sommer my gedigte vir my te skryf – een wat my emosies en verbeelding kan “lees”….

  15. adriaan :

    Dankie Charl-Pierre, maar o waar’s die dae van elbow grease en ‘n beitel, pik of lugdrukboor? Persoonlik wou ek nog die kiem van ‘n wag-‘n-bietjie breek uit ‘n neut met ‘n bankskroef en nou trek ons al by die…algoritme?

  16. Hallo Marlise

    Ek wens ek het die vaardigheid gehad om so ‘n program te skryf! Maar ek het ongelukkig nie.

    Die sosiale antropoloog Ian Morris gebruik ‘n stelling wat die skrywer Robert Heinlein gemaak het: “die mensdom gaan vooruit omdat daar party mense is wat te lui is om te werk – dan vind hulle maniere uit om dinge met die minste moeite gedoen te kry”!

    Morris pas dit in sy boek “Why the West rules – for now” toe om aan te dui waarom die mensdom oor duisende jare “social development” deurmaak.

    Die poësie-skryfprogram waarna jy verwys is iets soortgelyks 🙂

    Tweedens: ek het vanoggend vir Michael Dalvean, die “computational linguist” wat die “Poetry Assessor” program geskryf het, ‘n e-pos gestuur. Tot my verbasing het hy twintig minute later geantwoord. Hier is ons e-posse:

    Dear Mr Dalvean
    I am a poet who lives in South Africa and I write in English and Afrikaans. I recently came across your article “Ranking Contemporary American Poems” and the “Poetry Assessor” program.
    I used the program to test South African poems, including my own.
    This left me a little perplexed. So far I have found three of my own poems that scored higher than 4 and quite a number that scored between 3 and 4.
    According to an article in Poetry Foundation, Sylvia Plath’s poem scored something over 2 and other poets scored much lower.
    Now, I don’t for a moment believe that my poems are more “professional” than Sylvia Plath’s, for instance. I don’t think my poems are particularly bad, just that it seems very unlikely that they would score so high in comparison to other highly regarded poems.
    In your article you describe what criteria and variables are used in the calculation process. I wonder whether there could be some quirk in my poems that edge the calculations to higher scores?
    I include my poem that got the highest score: 4.8. It may interest you to examine this peculiar outcome.
    Kind regards
    De Waal venter
    …..
    Dear Mr Venter,
    The system basically looks for a number of qualities (variables) that are present in professional poems and absent in amateur poems. A high score shows that a poem has more in common with professional poems than it has with amateur poems. Certainly, this does not mean that the poem is like a professional poem in every respect. However the high score shows that it is more likely to be a poem of high quality than a low score does. The bottom line is that a poem with a high score should be read by an editor/publisher to make a final assessment. If you have poems with a high score then you should try to get them published. Those with a low score, I would be less likely to send to an editor.
    The system was designed to be a preliminary filter like a CV/cover letter is for a job. The employer/editor can use the initial application/score to select a short list. Having isolated a group of potentially good applicants/poems, the employer/editor can then interview applicants/read poems.
    I hope this helps.
    Yours sincerely,
    Michael Dalvean

    Dit maak vir my baie sin: ‘n gedig met ‘n hoë telling is nie noodwendig ‘n baie goeie gedig nie, maar bevat eienskappe van wat die program as professioneel beskou. Andersom ook: ‘n gedig met ‘n lae telling is nie noodwendig ‘n swak gedig nie – dit bevat net minder eienskappe van wat die program as “professioneel” beskou.

  17. Buiteblaf Breytenbach :

    Eisj… die Gaddareense swyne is op ons!

  18. Leon Retief :

    Roses are red, violets are blue, ensovoorts. ek het hierdie rympie met die program getoets en dit kry toe -4,5.

  19. Hallo Leon

    Ek het ook “swak” gedigte getoets en lae tellings gekry. Maar nie een so laag nie!

  20. Hilda Smits :

    Martin Luther King se “I have a dream” het ‘n telling gekry van 3.2. Wys jou net.

    “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

    I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

    I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

    I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    I have a dream today.

    I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

    I have a dream today”

  21. Hilda Smits :

    Bygesê, net op die dele wat herhaal. Sekerlik ietsie te make met ritme.

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