Is being born a prerequisite for being a writer? Can a robot write poetry? Are we all on the verge of losing our jobs to content-generating automatons?

Going Down Swinging is dedicating the month of October to all things artificial intelligence. As automation winds its way into our lives, we’re looking at what it means for the future of writing.

We’re experimenting. Question: can poetry generated with the help of a robot feel as meaningful and human as a typical poem? Method: we’ve fed Voicebox, a customisable predictive keyboard, a bundle of articles, stories and poems that we’ve published on our website over the years. Result: a bot that “talks” like a Going Down Swinging writer.

We asked six poets to create works using only words suggested by the bot. Here are the first two poems in the series, by Rafael S. W. and Scott Wings, along with their “spoken word” text-to-speech accompaniments. For some reason, we also agreed to let the bot take over our Twitter (it can be very persuasive). Follow us to catch its tweets. If you fancy yourself a robo-poet you can take the bot for a spin.

Maeve Baker is the bot human artist behind all Bot-tober artwork.


With drowning i went south 
this porn kit as 
hormone of poetry


of someone 
drinking until 
knuckles missed

ladies my teeth are angry 
cool uncle ( during pregnancies )
shuts the water 

greyness cooks 

online banner ad 

mangrove always 

                                               By Scott Wings

(savage love – questions)
I don't have two kids
his secret phone calls like my therapist
potential revolution is respect
her husband wanted to share

(savage love – answers)
the first moment i had moved
framed by pretending
unrealistic advice on
sexually experienced need

(William Wordsworth)
with a desperate light
not only in his heart and eye
for all this fair solitude
the mind yet remembers

(beauty ad copy)
for all these toxins in our plans
your body is clinically available
it shows
                                              By Rafael S. W.

Scott Wings is a performance artist, spoken word artist, physical theatre practitioner and event host. He is the curator and director of a range of immersive, interactive and community performance with Ruckus Melbourne. Scott regularly performs in Melbourne and throughout Southeast Asia on collaborative residencies and projects and currently lectures in drama at Melbourne University, Trinity College.

Rafael S. W. writes in all genres and styles including short stories, non-fiction and poetry. A past editor for Voiceworks, Catalyst and Ex Calamus Magazines, he has also been a competition judge, presented on panels, and president of the Monash Creative Writers’ Club. He has taught creative writing and chess in schools all around Victoria but is still a far way off from mastering either.

Maeve Baker is a Melbourne based animator, illustrator and comic artist. She struggles to put down her pen, seeking to communicate relatable content in interesting ways. Maeve is currently employed at 12Field Animation Studio and on an array of freelance animation projects for clients in Melbourne and Brisbane.