Fine tuning on Shel Silverstein's poetry

I’ve been having some fun with a Curie model fine tuned on Shel Silverstein’s poems. His style uses fairly simple language, so I thought he’d be a good author to mimic. I used about 200 examples with the poem title as the prompt and the poem body as the completion, so with my fine-tuned model I can just give it a new title that I made up and it composes a poem.

Initial results could get stuck in repetitions. I found that a frequency penalty of 0.35 and temperature 0.7 worked fairly well.

Here’s one called “What Does the Future Hold”:

I’ve heard there’s a pill they’re developing
That will take care of any eventuality:
A pill to make you love your children more,
A pill to make you sleep till noon,
A pill to let you read in the dark,
A pill to turn you into a bird,
A pill that lets you watch TV set–
I’ve even heard it rumored they’re trying it out.

A few more generated poems I liked here:


I like this a lot as I grew up with shel Silverstein! I’ve noticed that gpt-3 has trouble with rhyming schemes, have you seen the same with this fine tuned model?

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Can you elaborate on that?

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Rhyming does seem hard for the model to pick up. The fine-tuned model occasionally had some rhyming output, but mostly it looks like free verse. Makes it feel a little more modernist I guess.


Finetuning on some poems wouldn’t make a difference to the BPE problems. GPT-3 has already seen vastly more than 200 rhyming poems. 200 more will make little difference. (It has probably seen many of those Shel Silverstein poems already, in fact, as he’s a quotable and popular poet.)

I’ve speculated that if you encoded IPA or rhyming dictionaries, for full finetuning that might be enough to instill phonetics & rhyme knowledge. I’m unsure about cheaper lightweight finetuning techniques: rhyming isn’t a problem where GPT-3 ‘knows’ it already and just needs to ‘locate’ the task, where tweaking a few parameters might switch emphasis appropriately - it’s an absence of knowledge about tens of thousands of words’ phonetics.


Very cool! Where did you get the training corpus?

I wrote a scraper to crawl this site: Shel Silverstein Poems - Poems of Shel Silverstein - Poem Hunter


Cool :writing_hand: @dean