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Bob Holman & Margery Snyder

Old-Fashioned and New-Fangled Tools for Poets

By February 3, 2014

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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:

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.


September 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm
(1) Mayuram V.Sankaran says:

I find that computer software has been developed to such an extent that a chess software,for instance, can beat a world champion in chess. Such speed, precision and unerring logic that human beings cannot hope to imitate! How would it if really creative poets sit together and with the assistance of software experts, create a ‘poetry master’ software with gradations or levels to match the taste or maturity of its readers! What a world of ‘software poetry’ that we can create!

September 17, 2010 at 5:08 am
(2) Valentina Petrova Toucheva says:

Thank you for the information in your newsletters; I usually write my poems from observations and impressions scribbled on spare paper bits, but cross-line rhymig takes some time; lately I have found that making a ‘spontaneous’ digital painting helps with finding an image or a topic for a poem; but it is usually more than ‘my heart feels me and my soul feels the world’ in my poetry, I am trying to have a ‘plot underneath’; I will be following the links you suggest for new ideas, V.P.T.

September 18, 2010 at 11:16 am
(3) am says:

nice blog item, the ipad, survey makes it interesting and relevant in a forward looking sense, what direction the poet’s creative interactive direction is taking …….five star presentation

September 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm
(4) Writing Retreats says:

The ipad tool is really quite a sight to behold. I’m curious to see how that continues to develop. Overall, I’m really glad to see such a cool use of technology to facilitate creative writing.

September 28, 2010 at 6:58 pm
(5) Joseph D. Smith says:

I find it much faster and easier to type it out on my computer. I am poor with handwriting and speaking.

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