Happy National Poetry Month 2016! National Poetry Month was founded in April 1996 to highlight the achievements of poets in the United States, increase publication and distribution of poetic works, and aid teachers in bringing poetry to their students.
Last year, we reviewed The Poetry Foundation’s POETRY app. This year, we’ll take a look at a few apps to help you celebrate.
The Poet’s Almanac, created by the journal Poetry East at DePaul University in Chicago, matches a poem published in its pages to the current weather in your location using GPS and meteorological data. It is developed by digital publisher Appoet and is free to download for both Android and iOS devices. The layout is simple and easy to navigate and there are built-in options to share poems via Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. A shopping cart icon links out to the publisher’s website for purchase of the physical journal. Although the selection is limited to poems already published by Poetry East, I find myself checking the app regularly to see what poems are selected on rainy days or when it’s particularly sunny.
To get your own creative juices flowing, try the Diamante Poems app to experiment with a specific poetry style. Diamante poems are written in the shape of a diamond and use nouns, adjectives and gerunds (nouns made from verbs by adding –ing) to describe two opposing or one central topic. The Diamante Poems app is freely available for both Android and iOS. It was created by the International Reading Association, ReadWriteThink, and the National Council of Teachers of English. It provides a template to create a diamante poem and includes definitions for each element. It has a profile system that allows for multiple users to save and edit completed poems within the app. While a great tool for teaching, the text is very small and does not scale well to small mobile devices.
Check out some experimental digital poetry with Speak, part of a series of poems meant to be read as interactive text called P.o.E.M.M (Poetry for Excitable [Mobile] Media). Speak is free to download, but only available for iOS. To read the poem, you simply drag your finger across a black screen and letters from the background gather to form lines of the poem “What They Speak When They Speak to Me.” The longer you drag on the screen, the more words form in line and once you break contact, the letters dissipate once more into the background. According to the app’s description, this process is meant to replicate the confusion and frustration of communicating in a foreign place. You’re given the option to write your own poem or pull text from Twitter to interact in the same way.
Looking for more ways to celebrate? The Academy of American Poets has 30 ways to celebrate national poetry month.