When Chat GPT Writes In the Style of […],
there is a tell, a watermark of words, of favorite
metaphors—Theseus’ ship, a Horatian epigraph—that
appears too often for chance. But what if the poet—
I myself—am the problem, unwittingly caught
in the same groove, excavating the same thoughts,
as recursive as any crafty neural net.
Certainly, I have been told so, flushing hot
with shame to think my precious manuscript
was not fifty poems, but one, over- and re-wrought.
Leafing back through, my It’s not! It’s not!
sounds weak, even to my ears. The experts
may need to revisit what comprises style and what
a writer’s very heart: Can we impersonate
ourselves? If so, what can be done about it?
by Devon Balwit
Editor’s Note: This clever sonnet raises a question all artists grapple with—Is my work derivative of itself? Given the advent of our new AI world, this question cuts a bit more sharply than it did in the past.
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