Reading huge tomes on the tiny screen of an iPhone makes visions of eyestrain dance in an aching head, but how about a haiku or a few hundred words of poetry? Taken in the smaller bite-size chunks in which poetry is often available, the screen on your iPhone, Android, or Blackberry might be an almost perfect venue, even if it does seem slightly incongruous when you first think about it.
Poetry on my mobile phone? Where is the book? Where is the Walden atmosphere? Where are the leaves of grass? Well, they are right there on your phone! Taking the advice of a New York Times article, I downloaded an iPhone app from The Poetry Foundation. I confess that I like poetry anyway, and this app gives me the opportunity to read some in small snatches while I have a few free moments, in line at the store or waiting for my doctor. For those moments, what better than poetry?
The app, which is free in the iTunes app store, lets you discover poetry with a shake, which causes two slot-machine-like bands so whir across your screen, each with a multitude of subjects. They stop randomly, giving you a pair of subjects, then finds poems to match them. My phone just found 9 poems that have to do with passion and youth. Another shake brought me 4 poems on doubt and family. Each poem viewed gives you a chance to see more by that poet. You can also search by mood, subject or keyword and save poems as favorites.
This is not the only app for poetry. There are several that look to be quite good. I’ll also be downloading those apps to get more variety. And now, when I’m in the queue at the butcher or waiting for an airplane, I can spend those brief free moments doing something that is better for my soul than playing solitaire. :)