Advertised as ‘Poetry in your hand’, the Poem Flow app from the Academy of American Poets (at poets.org) is a new and unusual way of enjoying poetry. I really like it, while being quite happy to admit that it’s not for everyone. Let me explain how it works.
Every day, poets.org provides ‘A Poem a Day’. I initially received this by email, and it was certainly one of the more civilized things in my crowded in-box. The only problem was that, every now and then, I found myself speed-reading through the poetry – very conscious of the mix of student questions, conference bulletins, meeting agendas and movie trailers that were also waiting for my attention.
The advantage of the Poem Flow app is revealed in the second word of the title. The poem literally flows across the screen of my iPad: word by word, phrase by phrase, at about the pace of someone reading out loud. It gives me the opportunity to slow down and genuinely think about the meaning of the words rather than rushing on to the next thing. (Recently I read one of Ursula Le Guin’s poems, ‘The Maenads’, with my morning coffee and its quietly chilling intensity stayed with me all day.)
Have a look at the website – if the Poem Flow concept doesn’t appeal to you, maybe the ‘Poem in your pocket‘ will! I’d love to hear from anyone who experiments with any of these ways of reading poetry.