Poem Flow for iPhone

I found myself in a meeting today with my boss and several other tech-savvy colleagues, discussing the educational and productivity-enhancing implications of various new technologies. When we got around to the iPad, I mentioned its potential to bring some sizzle to literature — possibly in ways the Kindle cannot. I whipped out my iPod Touch, fired up the new Poem Flow for iPhone application that just got released today, and we all sat around for a few minutes watching “The Second Coming” by W.B. Yeats elegantly fade, in measured lines, across my tiny screen. The implications for the larger iPad seemed obvious.

The implications of this technology for poetry, however, remain to be seen. I was contacted at the start of this month by Laura Often, Public Relations for Text Flows, the company that partnered with The Academy of American Poets to bring Poem Flow to life. She was interested in having me blog about their project. I’m not sure if she found me as a former technology blogger or a current poetry blogger, but nonetheless I took a look. Unfortunately, at that time, I could only see a brief Flash-based demonstration on their web site.

Holding my iPod Touch in my hands while it runs this application is a different experience. The font is lovely. The transitions between lines (and parts of lines) are thoughtful and well-executed. In fact, the deliberate slow-down of the reading experience seems to be one of the few actual enhancements I’ve seen technology make to literature — perhaps the only enhancement in this regard, since mostly when it comes to reading, technology encourages us to speed up. Continue reading…

Thank You, VisualCV

iPod TouchLiving in two worlds can require a lot of explaining. When poets and poetry aficionados ask me what I do for a living, I usually just say, “technology.” Often, that one word is enough to make them change the subject. Most people don’t want to know the details once I utter the t-word. You’d think I worked in a slaughterhouse.

But even for the tech-savvy, an elevator pitch or traditional resume doesn’t really begin to tell the full story of what I do. That’s why, when I discovered VisualCV through Guy Kawasaki’s blog some months ago, it seemed like the perfect way to explain what I do, in a more rich and compelling way, to technologists and poets alike. I added screenshots of websites, narratives with hyperlinks, technical articles, and video to my VisualCV page using their super-easy, web-based interface. Then, I posted a link to my VisualCV page in the community forums, thus entering myself in to the VisualCV best resume contest.

A few weeks later, I got notice that I made the finals. My wife, Valerie, whose career story is equally complex and compelling, actually did as well. They generously issued Amazon gift certificates to both of us. I used mine to buy books for my final semester of the MFA. Then, a few weeks later, during my fourth MFA residency, I got notice that I won one of the grand prizes for best resume. How cool is that? My prize, an 8GB iPod Touch, arrived yesterday. It’s basically all the fun of an iPhone without those annoying cell phone features. I have nicknamed it the iFaux. Say it fast, while holding it up to your ear, and nobody will know the difference.

Big thanks to VisualCV for both a great application and a fun new toy.