Going with the (poem) flow
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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.