Nearly every human being is equipped with the necessary elements for making poetry: words and their associated powers and qualities—their sounds, the visual and sensual images they carry, the colors of meaning they reveal when read or spoken or heard or repeated or combined with other words... So when we speak of poetry “tools,” we’re actually talking of the means for preserving and sharing poetry rather than creating it. In its earliest forms, poetry was an oral/aural art, carried by the human voice and recorded in the memories of its speakers and hearers. Then came written language—chisel and stone, pen and paper, type and ink, photographic negative and chemicals became the tools for recording and distributing poems, and it began to seem as if poetry’s fundamental existence was on the page, in the visual realm. But in the modern age, the publication of poetry has expanded back into the aural/oral realm, and poems live in sound recordings and films as much as in books and journals.
Some of the poetic tools here at About Poetry are old-fashioned:
- Book lists like A Poet’s Ideal Library or our selected Books on Poetry, Poetic Traditions, Writing, Performance and Poetics
- Our Glossary of the Traditional Forms of Poetry
We've also gathered lots of resources on new poetry media:
iPads and smart phones carry the most new-fangled tools for poets, replacing books with ereader apps that allow you to carry lots of poems for reading or listening on your mobile device, and substituting apps designed as tools for writing poems for your trusty dog-eared notebook. So what do you think, poets? Do these new tools make you want to move your poetic life into the digital realm? Or would you rather stick to the old-fashioned ways of making poems? Take our poll and tell us how you like to start a new poem.