With the Powerball lottery prize at $1.3 billion and climbing, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, poetry punks?
This week, we invite you to craft a Powerball-inspired poem using a new tool crafted by our book reviews editor, Douglas Luman.
Start by choosing your source text. Select one of your own, or try:
- Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery” (PDF)
- Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Gambler
- Richard Proctor’s Chance and Luck (PDF)
- Clarence Cullen’s Taking Chances
- Rex Beach’s The Winds of Chance
Next, jump over to Douglas Luman’s site and click “Powerball” from the dropdown at right:
Copy and paste your text into the gray box, then click “Run.” The tool will use the latest Powerball numbers to select corresponding words from your text. For instance, this week’s numbers are
The tool will pull the 16th word from the text, followed by the 19th word, and so on until it grabs the 57th word. At that point, the tool will recycle through the text, until it reaches the end.
The word that corresponds to the Powerball — in this case, 13 — is used as the title of your poem.
Once you have your Powerball-generated word bank, it’s up to you how to use it. You can keep the lines exactly as is, remove certain words, re-order lines, etc.
Share your poem — or a link to your completed poem on your own site — in the comment section below.