Saturday, June 26, 2010

Build Your Poetry Apps Without Breaking a Sweat!

Hi, my name is Patty and I'm addicted to Apps....

I love me some apps, but when it comes to poetry apps it's pretty slim picking. I downloaded Instant Poetry HD last night. It's only different from magnetic poetry in that it won't stick to a fridge. Oh, and you can change the background by using a photo. It basically gives you words on tiles that you can arrange to your heart's content. I made this gem:

I suppose it's possible to write some keepers with this, but unless Paper Toss and Angry Birds disappear from the App world, I probably won't be spending too much time with this one.

Poetry Daily has an App. It opens right to the poem-of-the-day, and you can move forward or back one day at a time. It doesn't seem to offer access to searching or browsing the archives though, and that's kind of a bummer. Two nice features are that you can move poems to a favorite list, and you can email poems.

Poetry has an App that lets you browse by mood or subject. The moods are pre-set: joy, grief, etc., so I couldn't enter "predatory recumbent," or "exanimate irate." Shame. If you're curious, "Advent" by Donald Hall is, according to Poetry, in the insecurity mood category. The most dynamic feature of this app is that if you shake your Iphone or Ipad (I have it on Ipad) it will spin through all the poems and then stop at a selection of poems by theme. I'm not sure what purpose this serves, but I suppose you could use the Poetry App as a Poetry 8-Ball. Dear Poetry 8-Ball, will I be rich and famous? Shake, shake, shake. Poetry 8-Ball gave me 11 poems on Pessimism. So, yes! I will be rich and famous! (It's all about the interpretation.) I had to shake the Ipad pretty hard to get it to spin, hard enough that visions of the Ipad sailing across the room came to mind. How would I feel if my Ipad went sailing across the room? Shake, shake, shake. Poetry 8-Ball offered me 19 poems on Frustration & Work and Play. So there you go.

The American Poetry App is pretty good, and since the description of it from itunes does the trick I'll copy it here:

American Poetry is a fully searchable compendium of 5,000 poems by 50 of America's greatest poets, each poem is displayed in its entirety. The collection contains poems of Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Edgar Allan Poe, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Stephen Crane and many other famous poets.

Feature Highlights:
* Collection of 5,000 poems by 50 well-known American poets
* Fully searchable by title and first line
* Type size is continuously adjustable
* World famous poems by Frost, Thoreau, Dickinson, Sandburg, Emerson, and more
* Email poems from within the app

All the poets are good and dead, but there's a nice mix from Gertrude Stein and Slyvia Plath to Weldon Kees and Hart Crane. It's an incredible bargain at .99 cents.

There are a few other poetry apps out there, but they didn't look download worthy.

Back to important work: Glee App!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Almost sand storming, close editing and wish shopping on etsy

Very windy day in Doha. It looked like we would get a sand storm for a minute, but then we didn't. Sand storms are our main source of weather excitement. I kinda wanted some weather excitement.

When I first got to Doha I used to walk down to the Al Waab construction site everyday to feed a pack of dogs. One day, we had a sand storm. A true palm trees-parallel-to-the-ground sand storm. Everyone hunkered down inside. But me in my novice desert living naivete thought "what's the big deal?" It's just wind. And sand. I shrugged into my backpack and headed to the construction site. After about 20 flesh flaying yards I turned back from the insane howling, and complete body dermabrasion. Sand was actually driven through several layers of clothing into my skin. I think I may still have sand embedded in my skin. Exciting!

In addition to wishing for a sandstorm I started close editing the anthology which is now close to 350 pages. I'm working page by page, line by line. I won't go on and on about it, but let me just say this, Arabian Gulf poets are amazing. Super, super amazing.

When I needed a little breather from editing I pretended I could have anything I wanted from etsy. This is on the top of the list:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dear Blog, it has been 5 years since my last post....

So, I had this other blog. It was supposed to chronicle my big adventure of moving from Richmond, VA to Doha, Qatar in 2005. I started it a couple months before I left, posted a smattering of dog photos and personality quiz results, and finally announced that I was off to Qatar! Then I pretty much stopped blogging. I didn’t have Internet access in my house for the first six months I lived in Doha, but that’s not the main reason I stopped. To say the least, the move was overwhelming. I used to adjust to change at a sloth like pace, and moving from RVA to Doha was a major chunk of change. I’ve gotten better at dealing with change, and 5 years of living in this fast-forward, light-speed paced country may have even made me a bit of a change junky, but 5 years ago: sloth. Everything was happening too quickly for me to reflect on so all my posts would have been some version of: aaauuuuuggggghhhhhh! Another issue had to do with privacy. Doha is in many ways like a small town; a little over a million people live in this whole Connecticut sized country. Plus, everyone at my Uni lived in the same compound. Not being able to be anonymous took some getting used to. Now, I like the familiarity and security, the small town-feel of my Uni and of Doha, but back then a blog felt like more public than I could handle.

Why am I back to blogging? I dunno, really. I’ve been circling around it for a long time. I have numerous class blogs, a poetry workshop blog, a couple private blogs for projects I’m working on, and I started a blog for Diode, but never kept up with it. So the blogging impulse is there, and now here I am pecking away…

To blog or not to blog is a question that interests me in general, particularly when it intersects with negotiations between the public and private self. Why do people start/stop blogging? Some blogs are suddenly abandoned, some go from frequent text postings, to sporadic postings with apologies and promises of more frequent postings. Sometimes more frequent posting occurs, but other times the blog goes dormant. Sometimes blogs limp along, text posts give way to photos or link postings. Sometimes the blog is reinvented and the blog is moved to a new site. None of this is criticism, by the way, after all I abandoned a blog just when it had the potential of actually being interesting. How blogs live and die just sort of interests me.

It’s deep summer, 118 degrees, the palm dates are ripening and most everyone is gone. I’m working. I’m dragging an anthology to the finishing line. It’s solitary, difficult work, and though I love this anthology more than anything I have ever worked on I’m sad that every day a little more summer is gone. So maybe I’m here to just whine a little. That’s okay, right?