Noriginals: The Art of Uncreativity

Participants’ Choice Award winner

A still from the Noriginals team’s prototype, Poetastr

View the prototype »
View the source code »
Note: Refresh Poetastr when switching poetry forms.

Team: Colin Rothfels, Naqeeb Memon, Evan Misshula, Charles S. Roy, Mark Slutsky.

About the Project: Noriginals: Poetastr is an automated, rule-based poetry creation tool. Sourcing content from the twitter stream, it allows users to specify lyrical forms. Based on the criteria, poems are generated and streamed to the user as they are created.


  • Poetastr was written primarily in Python, which allowed us to do rapid prototyping, and to share a language between the logic code and the display code.
  • Poetastr is built on top of Poetry Utils 2.0 ( a poetry library built in python that works with text features like metre and rhyme.
  • The web interface was built using Flask, a lightweight python ‘microframework’ for building web applications. We chose Flask because we wanted to be working in python throughout the project, and Flask provided the features we required without a lot of code overhead.
  • jQuery was used to handle displaying of the streamed results, and to manipulate the menus. Another JavaScript library, bootstrap, was used to handle basic styling.
  • Git, GithubGoogle Chat and Google Docs were used to facilitate collaboration.
  • All our code was written in Sublime Text 3.


Photo: Antar Hanif

Naqeeb Memon (Technologist) is a software developer & photographer based in New York. Naqeeb specializes in building web platforms that can be used to showcase interactive stories.

» Photography
» Naqeeb on Github


Photo: John Jay College

Evan Misshula (Technologist) is a Ph.D. student in Criminal Justice, working as a data scientist at the John Jay Research and Evaluation Center. Misshula is currently a Presidential Fellow at John Jay. In 2014 and 2015, he will be a Digital Fellow at CUNY Graduate Center.

» Measure of Justice
» Evan Misshula on Github


Photo: Colin Rothfels

Colin Rothfels (Technologist) is an artist and software developer based in Montreal. His software work revolves on automating the creative process. His most recent projects were focused on the automated and automation-assisted writing of poems using text collected from Twitter.

» @anagramatron
» @cmyr


Photo: Sara A. Tremblay

Charles S. Roy (Media Maker) is a Montreal-based writer, publisher and filmmaker. A former Film Critic (Sequences, Cinemascope, Cahiers du Cinema) and FIPRESCI juror, Roy launched the LESEDSED Pub. Co. in 2012 and released his AQÉI Excellence Award-nominee “BIS, ou La politesse du débutant” the following year. NORIGINALS: The Art of Uncreativity is his debut multiplatform documentary.

» La Maison de Prod


Photo: TIFF

Mark Slutsky (Media Maker) co-wrote and co-produced the feature comedy Peepers and co-wrote the feature documentary The Fruit Hunters. His shorts Sorry, Rabbi and The Decelerators both of which he wrote and directed, have played at festivals around the world. In 2013, he also co-directed and produced the animated short I’m One, Too! for Sesame Street. Mark Slutsky is also the founder-curator of, which has been featured in Der Spiegel, Der Zeit, Buzzfeed, Slate and other international publications.

» Sad YouTube
» @totallyslutsky


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POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.