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What Is Interactive Poetry?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 23, 2024
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Interactive poetry refers to forms of poetry in which multiple people can interact and create the work together, or that allow for interaction by the reader of a poem. A simple example of an interactive format for poetry is the magnetic word tiles that can be placed on a refrigerator or other surface. By moving these tiles, different words can be combined by different people to make a variety of phrases and poetic expressions. There are also forms of interactive poetry that can be created in an interactive and digital medium, which can allow a reader to interact with the poem beyond simply reading it.

The idea behind interactive poetry is typically to allow poets and readers to interact with the creative medium. Magnetic word tiles, for example, provide poets with the ability to create phrases and poems quickly and in an unusual and interactive way. These types of tiles have even been re-created in various computer programs and websites, providing poets with the ability to create unique phrases and poetic lines through a computer application. Some of these sites then allow a poet to display his or her interactive poetry for others to see and potentially interact with.

There are also a number of websites that allow for other types of interactive poetry among poets. Internet forums, for example, can be created to host poems created through group collaboration. One person might start a poem or present a fully realized poem, and then other members can interact with and add to it. This creates interactive poetry by a group of people who do not know each other, creating a new poetic work that has meaning to each of them individually and as a whole.

Interactive poetry can also mean the different ways in which poetry can be displayed or created for readers in an interactive way. A poet might create a poem within an interactive multimedia software program, for example, that allows others to interact with and experience a poem. This type of presentation or multimedia work can enhance the meaning of the poem in a number of different ways, and allow the reader to connect with a poem in ways that are impossible on a printed page. An interactive poem about secrets that uses the image of locked doors and keys, for example, could take the form of numerous “layers” of animated doors that each contain a line of the poem. As one door is opened it exposes the next line and another door, which is repeated until the last door opens to the final line of the poem.

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Discussion Comments
By Pinkrelin — On Mar 29, 2014
@Jolecter - Yes, mad libs would be interactive. There are also a number of great apps that let you create interactive poetry. I have one on my Ipad that is exactly like magnetic poetry for your refrigerator; the little pictures of the magnets even look the same.
By Jolecter — On Mar 29, 2014

From the article, I'm getting the idea that to do a sort of "mad libs" for poetry would result in a finished poem that could fall into this category.

By Satharis — On Mar 28, 2014

It seems to me that another form of interactive poetry might be e-poetry that embeds a number of hyperlinks into the text of the poem. This would invite a reader to interact with the text by clicking through the hyperlinks to view documents, etc., whatever the poet has chosen to link up.

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