Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Poetipics Results!

Okay, so after an extra sudden-death day to get some final results, the first Poetipics competition is complete! Congratulations, Stephen Molen, you're the winner! See his poem, as well as the other two great entries by Belinda Zoller and Laura Jackson, below.

Could Be:

by Stephen Molen

Bedrooms, bathrooms,
torture chambers, classrooms,
dining rooms, kitchens,

libraries of fiction;
prison cells or computer labs,
where real fake life is had;
an asylum or shelter,
our guesses could be better

And yet does it matter
what we guess our guesses to be?
Our imaginations we flatter
when we make up what we see.
And yet we play this game,
to break life and the mundane.

By Laura Jackson

Blind alley, boarded up
Stark and cold, forever old
Windowless windows
Peering here, there
Going nowhere,
Washed out, wishes

By Belinda Zoller

Looking through windows on my Android smartphone--
They're windows within windows, metatastically yay to me,
Appropriate metaphors for my mobile flat.
In the biggest square is my office, conforming me by the ubiquitous overflowed inbox following me whe
rever I go;
The second slitted one is the diameter of my eyelids at 2am texting my lover (an exposed sliver in the dark);
And below these windows is a basement where I stash and trash all the emails and lovers from old SD cards
from old flats, from old windows.

Thanks for participating, everyone! And we look forward to another round of Poetipics this week.

Poetry is not dead!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Poetipics: Giving You Poemomentum

We at PiND are happy to announce that starting next week, we will start a weekly poetry-writing contest called Poetipics. This contest is designed to help you keep writing poetry, find recognition for poetry, spread poetry, and even get stuff for writing good poetry.

How do we do all that, you ask?

It's called Poetipics! Poetipics are pictures that we'll throw up on Facebook every Thursday. The challenge to you is to write the best short poem possible about that picture, then post your poem as a comment on the poetipic on Facebook. Once it's up, start spreading the word! The more likes you get on your comment, the greater chance you have of winning. The top three poems will be posted here every Monday afternoon, and the top poet gets a prize!

Pretty simple idea, right? We think so. We hope it'll help us all keep writing poems and, as is our thing here at PiND, we hope it spreads poetry around so the world can know for sure that poetry, indeed, is not dead.

The first poetipic goes up on Facebook next Thursday, so keep an eye out!

Thanks for stopping by, and may the poetry be with you.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Poetry Everyday Apps

The internet and the iPhone are great tools for pretty much everything on the planet, and poetry is certainly no exception. Here's a list of some apps and sites we've discovered (so far) that can help you mingle some poetry in with your status updates, tweets, repins, and all the other wonderful things we do on the internet.

Writer's Almanac with Garrison KeillorThe oldest and greatest for me is the Writer's Almanac, hosted by Garrison Keillor. Every day, you can read a short contemporary poem plus a bunch of interesting this-day-in-literary-history fun facts, OR you can hear Keillor's fantastically rich and deep voice reading it to you for free. Unfortunately, no app yet, but you can sign up for a daily e-newsletter, follow on Twitter, or like on Facebook. It's always awesome. Click the link above or here.

Probably the most fun of all the offerings here is the Poetry app from the Poetry Foundation. In a recent interview on NPR, a representative from the foundation said they followed searches on their website and found out that America searches for the same 200 or so poems over and over and over again. This app helps people get beyond that base in possibly the funnest way possible. When you open the app, there's a button that says "Spin." When you tap it, a bunch of emotions and a bunch of topics go spinning round and round until they stop in a random combination, and dozens of poems on that unique combination pop up. If you're feeling something in particular, you can also set your own combination. The app also lets you search for specific poems and poets, or browse by mood or subject. There's even a tool to browse recorded poetry. You can save all your favorites right in the app to go back and read or share to your heart's content. This is really a fun and useful app. Available here.

A recent favorite of mine is the Poetry Daily app. It's greatest strength is simplicity--just one contemporary poem every day. This app is really easy to use and usually has very interesting poems. You can also search back through other dates or there's a random button that will give you any random day's poem from the past few years. Like the Poetry Foundation app, you can save favorites within the app to read or share again later. This is a really good app to see what kind of poetry is getting written and talked about right now. Available here.

Remember those fridge magnet words that you could make funny poems out of? Have you ever wanted to those on your phone for free? Well, then, the Poetry Creator from Tiny Mobile, Inc. is for you! Use their words or put in your own, or buy extra specialized dictionaries ("beatnik" and "hip-hop" are just two of the many, many options) for a dollar more. The only drawback here is you can't save the poems you make, but I guess you could screenshot the app when you're particularly proud of your work (to take a screenshot on the iPhone, just push the home button and the top button at the same time). Available here.

If you haven't already, give these apps and sites a chance. They're really easy and fun ways to get some poetry going in your life and to share it around.

Have any other apps or sites you like to go to for poetry? Throw them up for us in the comments section.

Poetry is not dead!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Poetry is Not Dead: The Origins of PiND

Even before they were doodling on cave walls, people were telling stories to each other. The earliest stories in mankind were usually told in some kind of meter and rhyme so they could more easily be remembered and passed on generation through generation. Poetry, therefore, is about as old as humanity itself.

From our earliest beginnings forward, poetry has played a significant role in nearly all human societies. After generations memorizing it and reciting it, people started writing it down, copying it, passing manuscripts around and, eventually, printing it in books. In a way, poetry peaked  a few hundred years later in the Romantic and Victorian periods, where people literally sat around reciting poetry to each other for fun, and Lord Byron's fans made Team Edward girls and Beiber fever-ites look bored in comparison.

But somewhere after that, poetry got lost. Blame whoever you want--modernist poets making it way too confusing to understand, post-modernists having way too much fun with form, society getting dumber, whatever--but the simple truth is poetry just isn't what it used to be. It's so bad now, actually, that a couple years ago someone wrote in to Parade magazine and asked why the US wastes tax dollars on a Poet Laureate if no one reads poetry anymore. I thought the answer they published to that question was genius. They quoted the American poet William Carlos Williams: "It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there." (They also pointed out that the US Poet Laureate gets a grand total of $30,000 a year and is paid through a trust fund, not taxes, so there, poetry haters.)

I read this article after I had first started reading and writing poetry seriously. I ripped it out of the magazine, drew a big circle around it, wrote "PROBLEM" across the page, and put it up in my room, deciding that I wanted to do something about it. 

When I came to BYU and got involved with the English Society, Tara (president of the society) approached me about making a poetry interest group within the club. We worked together and the result was PiND: Poetry is Not Dead, an interest group dedicated to the propagation of poetry in modern everyday life. For now, we're based here on this blog and the Facebook group called BYU PiND. Check in here and there as we expand, posting poems, links, apps, events, and basically anything to get a little poetry in your life and the life of others.

Poetry is definitely not dead. We're here to prove it.