a rain of poetry

August 20, 2018

Prolific artist Pedro Veneroso has created a poetry experiment: Gogoame. Via his rain-like algorithm, letters “fall” across the screen, responding slightly to the pull of the mouse, in their gathering and separating suggesting words.

You can see Gogoame here, in its non-stop version. Click on the little book to read “About” and click on the letter A, screen left, to write and then share your own poem. You have to have fast eyes, and if they discern Portuguese or Spanish words, that wouldn’t be surprising.

For a more controllable experience, visit designboom, where a 5-minute video can be stopped and restarted as you record words.

Unlikely as it is, this is our second post in a week on gaming. The first talked about Haiku Adventure. This post introduces (or, if you’re an early adapter, re-introduces) Walden, a Game.

Walden, a game is an exploratory narrative and open world simulation of the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. The game begins in the summer of 1845 when Thoreau moved to the Pond and built his cabin there.

Players follow in his footsteps, surviving in the woods by finding food and fuel and maintaining their shelter and clothing. At the same time, players are surrounded by the beauty of the woods and the Pond, which hold a promise of a sublime life beyond these basic needs. The game follows the loose narrative of Thoreau’s first year in the woods, with each season holding its own challenges for survival and possibilities for inspiration.

Though a computer version of Walden has been available for a year, it recently launched on PlayStation 4. According to an Associated Press article by Dylan McGuinness, the game, including visuals and sounds, is modeled closely on Thoreau’s world.

Whether the game inspires readers to seek out the book or relieves them of the need to read it, the developers hope it will expand awareness of Thoreau’s experiment in nature and have made it available free to educators.

poetry gaming

May 15, 2018

We don’t often have an opportunity to post from the intersection of Poetry and Gaming, but if Small Island Games has anything to do with it, Haiku Adventure will be coming your way soon.

Haiku Adventure is a magical realist adventure game which allows players to inhabit intricately composed landscapes that celebrate Japanese woodblock traditions, and explore the transformative tricks of perception contained within the formal constraints of haiku poetry. Exploring an immersive world and discovering lines of poetry will allow players to compose three line haiku which re-imagine and transform the world around them.

To learn more, visit the website and read a review on PC Gamer.

word play

March 12, 2018

It has been a while since we mentioned Magnetic Poetry. You may have a scatter of words on your refrigerator, but you can also indulge online. Go to the Magnetic Poetry Play Online page and click on one of the kits. The interactive screen deals up an array of words that you can move around. Click for more words and you get more words; after a number of clicks the screen will come back to your original selection, minus any words you’ve already used. It’s fun, easy, free, and who knows? It could be the start of something big.

gamer poetry

June 20, 2017

In the ongoing eclectic meandering that is The Poetry Department, we’ve stumbled across a new corner of the poetry world: gaming. If you’re a video gamer, you may already know about it. If not, meet Cartridge Lit, “an online literature mag dedicated to showcasing the best lit — fiction, nonfiction, poetry — inspired by video games.” Poems, online chapbooks, and more. Cartridge Lit online and on Facebook.

Taste for Poetry 2013

April 19, 2013

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest held its annual fundraising event, Taste for Poetry, this week. David M. Laws regaled us with poems and stories and Ciao Thyme dazzled our palates with five courses of amazing food.

In the spirit of the evening, table groups of diners collaborated on “exquisite corpse” poems. Each group started with a line of poetry about food, each person adding a line with only the immediately-preceding line visible. Here are the resulting poems and links (where available) to the full text of the opening line poems.

first course

How easily happiness begins by | dicing onions*
Aromatic bulbs divide for your tears of joy
For sweet and bitter, both make you cry
Warm tears rolled down my cold cheeks
Winter: what’s in you, even sadness, is warmer than what’s out.
Spicy condiment, good for what ails you
but don’t worry – ailments are 10 to 6
dozen just like Rhode Island reds
Eggs broken – layers do not lie
Truth spreads out invisible to all

*from “Onions” by William Matthews

Mattaio and Jessica prep

Brussels sprouts are Siamese | twins joined at the spine*
lightly salted, they taste divine
and who you eat them you feel most fine
and you can also drink to feel fine
or eat to feel even better, enjoying life’s subtleties
But there’s nothing subtle about eating –
especially in such good company as this.
Alas, subtlety is soooo overrated!
Ditto, modesty, simplicity, etc.

*from “Brussels Sprouts” by Lorna Crozier


The World begins at a kitchen table*
Salt and pepper shake each other
Do the cha-cha
Ah ha
He thought to himself I must have her
But he bought the old beer.
Time to go to the woods and out of sight.
With dog by your side & hubby behind
A ray of light shine through a curtain of one thing
we’re still not certain…

*from “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Jo Harjo


“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said | “is what we chiefly need:”*
A glass of wine with be just fine the harbor seal read.
Morning, noon and night the train clanks by
The sound of the whistle brings a smile to my eye.
But the crossings cause us to stop and wonder.
It’s the hooting of the engine, the cry of the gulls that awakens
The wind that whispers ‘migrate’ to the sleeping soul;
A palmful of ocean, running meager currents over galvanized flesh; the sun, bedded down between sheets of rain; &
The turquoise merged with seafoam, then to silver before the sun disappeared.

*from “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll

Ciao Thyme preps

Sometimes I would like to turn and live | among the vegetarians*
where the safety of the plants
Guard, protect against the elements
with the wooly feelers of a scarf poking inwards
clasping, grasping, wrapping me warmly in words
And then the sudden, shocking, shattering burst of icy cold
oooh wicki woo shoo wip wip zowie yum yam boom!
Spice me in your skillet, baby, va va voom!

*from “Among the Vegetarians” by Nancy Pagh


I love the sound of the bone against the plate*
but the sound of the ocean is bright
so bright it overwhelms all my senses
My toes tingle thinking of the white
beast talking after my feet in the broccoli
Its shadow becoming more umbrella like
A penumbra to benumbya comes over us all.

*from “Osso Buco” by Billy Collins
. . . . .
Photos of Taste for Poetry 2013 food and prep with special thanks to Kat deVaney and Nancy Canyon

Magnetic PoetryThe sun is out and you really should go outside. But if you’re waiting for the temperature to go up another five degrees or, well, if you’re waiting for just about anything, why not play?

By Skyler Jones, 8th grade
2008 Merit Award

Placard design by Egress Studio

And there, where I slumped in the trash dumpster’s swill,
I told them they never would find me, but still …
The hours bore long
Man, something was wrong
The way a fish flops and chokes air through its gill
The other kid counts at the tree, “Eight, nine, ten!”
He dashes away to find me … to no end
Whether I’m ready
Or not, here he came
At least, there he went … missing me just the same!
But I was in no rush to stop him, no how
Thought “I want to win, that’s what matters right now.”
Pinched my nose, in the air,
Thus fulfilling my duty
Sat straight in the muck, soaking through to my booty
Oh, I’ll put it into perspective, alright!
But heck, no harm done
The game has been won!
I told them I’d win, and, again, had been right
And just for posterity’s sake, that and such
A night dumpster-sitting’s a little bit much
But take a deep whiff
I’m sure you’ll agree
That sweet, sweet smell of success is all over me!

*Copyright 2008 by Skyler Jones. This poem is included in POETRY WALK: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest – The First Five Years. Info: Book! Placard design by Egress Studio.