Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: Going with the (poem) flow

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

Going with the (poem) flow

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Have you heard of Poem Flow? Have you seen it? What do you think? If you haven’t seen it--it’s a daily poem delivered onscreen. It was developed as an iPhone app, but you can also see it on the Internet.

I heard about it a few months ago when the poem of the days was “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold. It was astounding to see the poem spreading itself out onto the screen like the sea with its full tide under the fair moon.

It was also fun to see that it had been viewed last by someone in Santa Cruz, California.

I love the thought of a poem offering itself word by word on iPhones everywhere. I love the graceful font and I often love the way the words deposit themselves slowly, deliberately, in a way that sometimes lets you hear the poem whispered in your ear.

And sometimes not so much. Sometimes it feels annoying, like interference, as if someone is getting between the poem and me. Sometimes the words flow out in a way that feels precious and calls attention to the “flowing” more than to the words. And whose reading is it, anyway?

Still, I can’t help thinking that, for all the inherent flaws and the missteps, the idea of poems flowing out into the world is pretty good.

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