“The best words in the best order.” That’s how the English Romantic, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, defined poetry. “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,” said the American poet Emily Dickinson.
While Dickinson’s description sounds a bit extreme, finding those best words and putting them in the best order can indeed have even the most practiced poets pulling their hair out. But getting involved with reading and writing poetry just got a little easier, with a new collaboration between Google Arts & Culture and over 130 arts institutions including The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The American Writers Museum, The Rekhta Foundation, Wordsworth Grasmere, and more.
Learn to write like Shakespeare
This World Poetry Day, Google Arts & Culture launches its first ever project dedicated to poetry, celebrating word-smithing across the world, from 20th century Haiku to contemporary poets like Joy Harjo and poet/rapper Dessa. You can read about ancient calligraphy or modern visual poetry, and listen to readings about everything from hair grease to a Monday morning in Lagos.
You’ll learn how to write a Shakespearean Sonnet after visiting an Augmented Reality gallery exploring the intersection of art and poetry. You’ll discover poetry from Sappho to Slam and meet poets from John Keats to Siphokazi Jonas on the way to making your own poems.
You can even take part in a collective poem with Es Devlin, simply by ‘donating’ a word which Machine Learning incorporates into a poem. Or maybe you’d prefer to experiment with a Hip-hop Poetry Bot, or make up new ‘Best Words’ with a Nonsense Laboratory, using Machine Learning to mix up letters into surprising new terms.
Enter a virtual gallery of poetry and art
Happy reading, happy writing, and happy World Poetry Day.