Sauntering verse

Sauntering verse
Sauntering verse
Sauntering verse
Sauntering verse
More poetry, less police
Active project

Sauntering verse generates Dadaist poetry based on your physical location. Take your device for a walk and see poetry created in front of your eyes. Sauntering verse is available through the web and through the iOS app store as well as the Google Play store.

Every location on earth is identified by a combination of two numbers. Centred on Greenwich, in England, this coordinate system divides the world up in ‘latitudes’ and ‘longitudes’ and a combination of the two defines a unique point on the globe.

Two long strings of numbers are not always easy to remember, so what3words came up with the idea to assign a unique combination of three words to roughly every 3×3 meter area around the globe. As with latitude and longitude, each combination of three words uniquely identifies a point on the globe. Therefore, if you move around, you are actually moving through locations with their own unique combination of words. The perfect starting point for a fine poem.

How to make a Dadaist poem was once famously described by Tristan Tzara, one of the founders of the Dada movement, as taking a pair of scissors, cutting up a newspaper article, and then putting the random words back together.

When creating poetry, Sauntering verse does this in a true Dadaist spirit, creating interpretations that are unique to your location and never the same.
In a certain way, Sauntering verse meanders on the edges of Dadaism, psychogeography and technology.

The app pairs the created poems with a diverse range of imagery. This can include a glitched image, a photo taken nearby, or an artwork from Marc-Anthony Macon.

Related:  What’s in a flag?

A big update

In August 2018, the site and app were rebuilt. The app now also takes its inspiration from nearby businesses, sourced from Triposo, meaning that the local connection is now not only abstract, but tangible, concrete.


In December 2018, Asymptote published a great piece on Sauntering verse.

Compose without moving

In April 2020, I added the convenience of composing poetry without moving.

The rise of the machines

Since May 2021, I allow for tapping into the OpenAI API, to improve the readability of the generated poems. Pressing the new ‘spellcheck’ button will attempt to clean up the generated poem and make it slightly more coherent.

A culling

In early 2023, after the writing was on the wall for years, Triposo shut its doors, meaning I had to remove the integration that looked for, and added references to, nearby businesses.

And some adjustments

In July of 2023, I realised I had forgotten about DarkSky’s weather API shutting down. Apple now provides the same, as a generous service, but I’ve only struggled with their JWT authentication scheme. So, I switched to weatherapi.

Also, Flickr integration was updated, MapQuest was ditched (their static maps no longer worked) in favour of (sigh) Google Maps.

Better grammar and no more Android app

My first attempt at cleaning up grammer via OpenAI was done through their ‘davinci’ model. I later switched this to their ‘curie’ model. In September 2023, I switched again, to ChatGTP3.5 Turbo. The quality of the grammar correction is impressive.

Also, additional requirements for the Google Play store, and added complexity in building a Meteor-based app meant I retired the Android app in the same month.