Someone—a poet named Robert Peake, who among other things spends time Venn-diagramming the seven types poetry (from fluff to arcane)—built a tool that works like Spotify or Pandora, except for poetry.
He calls it Poet Tips, and unlike Spotify and Pandora, it’s free. Which is good, because until poems sell for 99¢ a download, the future for online ads is pretty bleak.
How it works
Enter the name of a poet whose work you like, and you get a list of other poets you might also like, saving you hours of staring at the 811 and 821 shelves at your local library and flipping through yet another book by Someone You Never Heard Of and full of Poems You Don’t Like.
Lately, I’m liking Tony Hoagland in a big way, so I ask Poet Tips who else writes like that. On the list, other poets I also like (like Billy Collins and Kim Addonizio), plus a bunch of names I don’t know. Names I can search for and sample online, like Matthew Dickman, whose work in The New Yorker catches in my throat, in a good way.
The tool makes the search a little easier, with links to biographical info or Google results and booklists.
I’m feeling lucky…
Don’t know where to start, or just feeling frosty? The Poet Tips sorcerers built in a randomizer.
Like your information more visual than listified? Open up the dynamic graph option and see poets as little interconnected bubbles floating in space (which, honestly, is how we feel much of the time).
The key ingredient to any crowd-sourced tool is, well, the crowd. Users—yes, even you!—can agree/disagree with recommendations and add more names.
Being the helpful sort, I added to their list a couple poets I think are also similar to my beloved Hoagland. The digital equivalent of, Trust me, you gotta read some Ruth L Schwartz. That one about the swan will knock your teeth out.
So give it a whirl, poets and poetry fans. Make it better. Push your favorites on the world!
You know you want to.