What if you could find an exact poem to describe a place you stumble upon, regardless of where it is in the world? This is exactly what the Poetic Places app was designed to do for Londoners, and it may eventually expand beyond the UK.
The Poetic Places app was developed by Sarah Cole, the British Library's Creative Entrepreneur-in-Residence, with financial help from CreativeWorks London. It uses push notifications and geo-location services to alert users when they happen to be in a spot that inspired the creation of poetic verses. Then, they can view the poetry and get a better sense of how it connects to their current location.
Alternatively, users can browse through poems and places in the app's database if they're simply seeking a little literature inspiration while trekking through London.
"Poetic Places aspires to give a renewed sense of place, to bring together writings and paintings and sounds to mean more than they do alone, and to bring literature into your everyday life in unexpected moments," Cole wrote on the British Library blog.
The app was officially launched on March 18 and celebrated with a half-day event at the British Library. CityRead London's Andy Read, Dr. Giasemi Vavoula of the University of Leicester and Dr. David Cooper of the Manchester Metropolitan University were some of the many notable figures who spoke at the celebration.
Following the event, Poetic Places was tested at Euston by a large crowd, and it proved to be a success. Thus far, Cole claims that it's received relatively positive feedback. In the future, she stated that she would like to expand beyond London.
"We limited the launch content to London for several reasons but I'm determined to expand its coverage to the rest of the UK and beyond," Cole stated. "I also hope to bring in more contemporary materials."
An ample amount of work not only goes into the continuous development of the app, but the copyrighting of the material as well. As Cole explains on the app's blog, she needs to seek permission prior to publishing each poem, and this can take months to achieve.
"Tracking down the estates of poets and rights-holders of verses and negotiating usage is time-consuming (even with tools like Watch) and we haven't had that much time to spare," Cole writes.
Poetic Places is free for download in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.