You know what I hear a lot about finding good poetry? That it’s just too hard to find. Sure, you can find the classic stuff by wandering through the library’s poetry section (if you can direct the Dear Reader to the library in the first place) but looking for more modern or obscure poetry, you actually have to TRY to look for things. Unless you follow “magic poetry generator” on Twitter, it can be hard to get people to put forth the effort. But never fear, technology is here! All you need is a handy smart phone (or iPod) and a quick trip to the app store to satisfy all of your poetry needs! Whether you’re a writer or a reader, there are tons of great apps out there to expand your horizons and your creative energy, with just a few clicks on your phone. But most importantly, the majority of them are FREE!
When starting your virtual poetry slam, there is no better place to start than the people who know their stuff. The Poetry Foundation has its own poetry app, in their continued efforts to not be seen as a bunch of white haired old teachers in tweed jackets. With this app, you can click a “spin” button, and be taken to a combination of two topics, say Disappointment and Youth, and give you anywhere between 20 and 180 poems from all writers and time periods, having to deal with those topics. Don’t like what you spin? Search around until you get a few topics you like, with subjects ranging from doubt to humor to nature. It’s intuitive, it’s fun, it’s a poem that fits easily in your pocket, and it’s easy on the college student budget since it’s free! Look for it in App Store or Android Market.
The Poetry App
This next app, run by the acclaimed Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation, is one that not only allows users to find new poetry, but also to get creative on their own! With great visuals and a fancy menu screen, this app allows users to read dozens of essays on famous poems, as well as the poems themselves. Oh, and because we truly live in the future, you can also watch videos of actors and speakers reading the poems and essays, which lets you basically have your own favorite poetry night in your pocket at all times. The poems are read to you by some incredibly talented voice actors. These include great storytellers such as Dan Stevens, Dominic West, Juliet Stephenson, Sinead Cusack, Simon Callow and Jeremy Irons. The talent of these actors help make the poems come alive in a way that reading them yourself cannot. The app has other cool features too, like a place to save your favorite poems, places to explore poetry, and information on the Josephine Hart Association. So put on that beret and pour some coffee, and let the roving poetry session begin! And yes, it’s FREE!
So, now that you’re all experts in reading poetry, I bet you’re wondering if you could ever WRITE anything so gosh darn wonderful? Well don’t worry, there’s an app for that! There are several apps that help you write, but my favorite is the Poets Pad app. It allows aspiring writers to record their poetry ideas (both in writing and on a recorder) in one place without all the hassle of using actual paper or any such silliness. But, as something of a paper purist, I love this app’s style. The typed words look like old fashioned writing (in handwriting about 20 times better than mine) on an old fashioned spiral notebook. It just looks really cool, and makes my lame attempts at rhyme schemes seem so much classier. Writer’s block? There is an idea generator, to get moving on that first poem. The only downside is that it costs a few bucks, so decide on your own if it’s worth the investment. But if you’re a struggling artist type? I say it is. This works with Android and Apple products.
For some reason, people tend to assume that technology and artsy stuff like poetry can’t work together. As I have said before, and will say again, this is silly. Technology and poetry can easily and awesomely co-exist, thanks to the magic of the Apps store! It’s easier than ever to find poems, as soon as you know where to look. If you’re interested in poetry, or in writing, give some of these a look. These are just a few of the many online poetry features available, so get downloading, and continue celebrating National Poetry Month both in person and online! And, often, for FREE!