Recently the world celebrated what would have been Sylvia Plath’s 87th birthday. Her poetry gave a powerful voice to an incredibly tortured soul and helped raise mental health awareness in a time when it was very much treated with hostility. Plath continues to be loved by many and, to this day, her work succeeds in touching the hearts of millions of kindred spirits.
In celebration of Plath’s special day, we at Scribeless reflected on the wonderful opportunity that we had earlier in the year. PLaiTH was a collaboration of two fantastic businesses, Tiny Giant and Sharpshooter, who aimed to teach a recurrent neural network all the works of Sylvia Plath, with the aim of creating some brand new Plathian poems.
You can read more about the project here.
Scribeless came in to bring the new poems to life, using a robot that we trained in the art of handwriting recreation to learn all the unique curves and imperfections of Plath’s handwriting. Once we reached the point that the machine’s own version of the writer’s penmanship was be indiscernible from the original, we used it to write out a poem devised by the recurrent neural network and pieced together by a group of writers. The final product: an all-new poem by Sylvia Plath, written in her own handwriting.
Reflecting on the task of recreating Plath’s handwriting raised a lot of questions in my mind. How genuine is the final product? What are the implications of writing a poem with a machine?
It didn’t take long before my romantic spirit came to terms with these questions though, and I looked back on the project more optimistically than I had ever done before. The project is a memorial to Plath, a way of showing respect and honouring her poetic soul. Writing the poems with her handwriting injects them with something genuine, something belonging to the poet that is shared among all her poems. It’s a spiritual undertaking as much as it is a technological one.
Working for Scribeless has reassured me that people’s longing for a deeper human connection is still very much alive. Handwriting may be a lost art, but people still crave the personality and exclusivity that it can represent. That’s why people use Scribeless. We recreate the sentimentality of the past while managing to keep up with the fast-pace and clinical efficiency of modern life. In the past, it took weeks or even months to deliver a letter. Today, we offer handwritten letters within 24 hours, and I relish in the fact that we use our technology to reinvigorate and optimise a tradition of companionship and intimacy and, at its core, of love.
We used our technology to create something that can exhibit Plath’s passionate spirit, and we now offer this service to others. Scribeless can take the personal quirks and intricacies of your own hand and use it to give life to the feelings you wish to express. Sending a letter written by your hand, to thousands of recipients, is as easy for you as writing an email.