Poetry Friday: discovering "poetry apps"

Poetry Friday is hosted by Karissa at The Iris Chronicles

For  my fifty-something birthday, I received an item I had secretly been pining for: an Apple ipad.  It had seemed a foolish thing to pine for, since I already had several computers and laptops scattered in various rooms of our house.  But the ipad still sang to me whenever I chanced upon someone enjoying theirs, or heard of someone else finding something marvelous to do with theirs.  So, it was a happy day when I held my very own ipad.  I can’t say that my world has been transformed by this sleek little item, that I have made a creative breakthrough in my writing, or figured out something brilliant to do with it in my classroom – but it certainly has been a LOT of fun to have.  My nineteen year old son, salivating over my shiny new gift, urged me to “check out the app store.”  Being a creature of habit, I checked out every education/teacher app that I could find….and then discovered poetry apps – oh happy day! 


The Poetry Foundation app – (their description)
With the Poetry Foundation’s universal iOS app, you can now take thousands of poems by classic and contemporary poets with you wherever you go.

From William Shakespeare to César Vallejo to Heather McHugh, the Poetry Foundation’s app turns your phone, iPod Touch or iPad into a mobile poetry library:

* Search for old favorites with memorable lines.
* Give your device a shake to discover new poems to fit any mood.
* Save your favorite poems to read and share later—through Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail.
* Read poems by T.S. Eliot, Pablo Neruda, Lucille Clifton, Emily Dickinson, and many others.

This app allows you to search for poems by poet, by theme (a process called “spinning” – what fun!) and to save favorite poems in files.  Somehow, this so much easier than printing poems and saving them in files one can never find when one need it most).  

2. Poetry Everywhere  By WGBH
 Now poetry lovers have a new way of experiencing great poems with a free app.

POETRY EVERYWHERE is a collection of short poetry videos featuring contemporary poets reading their own works, introduced by Garrison Keillor. It’s pure poetry! With easy navigation, this app is a sure way to provide reflection and inspiration.

“What makes a good poem? I’d say stickiness, a kind of memorability….You hear it and a day later some of it is still there in your brain. I think a poem is “good” if it’s memorable, reciteable, and it’s accessible. There are many good poems out there you don’t get a chance to see or hear and now Poetry Everywhere is giving people just that opportunity.” – Garrison Keillor

Keillor’s informed and entertaining introductions are wonderful to listen to, and the poems themselves are gems – especially because they are linked to videos of the poet’s reading/recitations which makes the experience so immediate and meaningful. Here, for ecample is Mark Doty reading Brian, Age 7  

Here is the poem:
Brian Age Seven
By Mark Doty
Grateful for their tour
of the pharmacy,
the first-grade class
has drawn these pictures,
each self-portrait taped
to the window-glass,
faces wide to the street,
round and available,
with parallel lines for hair.

I like this one best: Brian,
whose attenuated name
fills a quarter of the frame,
stretched beside impossible
legs descending from the ball
of his torso, two long arms
springing from that same
central sphere. He breathes here,

on his page. It isn’t craft
that makes this figure come alive;
Brian draws just balls and lines,
in wobbly crayon strokes.
Why do some marks
seem to thrill with life,
possess a portion
of the nervous energy
in their maker’s hand?
(you can read the rest here).

 It’s thrilling to know that I can now take delight in experiencing poetry in this way even as I wait outside my daughter’s SAT tutor’s house/dentist/voice lessons, etc…..as long as I have my ipad!

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7 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: discovering "poetry apps"

  1. How great! And now you can download those P*Tag books too! I don't have the Poetry Foundation App-didn't even think of it, although I visit them often on my laptop. I'm glad you're having such fun! Mark Doty gives such wonderful pictures, doesn't he? I love "—as if it were the flag/of his own country held high/by the unadorned black line/of his arm." I can picture it precisely. Thanks, Tara.

  2. Done…now I have those marvelous books! I'm glad you liked the Doty poem – working with kids all day and loving their quirkiness, I felt he really "gets" that and celebrates it.

  3. Thanks for the poem exerpt, and the link to the rest. I loved it. What a great picture poem. I don't even need to see the real thing. The description of him with the ice cream cone was delicious!Thanks for the app tip, too…Love my iPad and have found wonderful ways to use it to enhance my days!

  4. Just had time to finally get caught up on reading blogs-this is a perfect Poetry Friday post for me! I just got an iPad also and slowly adding apps and thinking about what is the best way to use it in my classroom.

  5. Oh Tara, I didn't know such an app exists! My iPad has been with me for around a year now, but for some reason, I've never really gotten the hang of it, still enamoured with my macbookpro more than anything (I lug it around regardless of its weight) – but this app, oh wow, I shall download it pronto! Love it! 🙂

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