Summary and Development
This mobile application for iOS and Android was the first major output of the PhD project. I developed it in consultation with Neil Astley, the Editor at Bloodaxe Books, the partner organisation on my research. With a forty-year publishing history, Bloodaxe have amassed a wealth of audio-visual material from readings and interviews with their poets. Our aim in developing the app was to find a way to utilise this material in introducing users to the work of Bloodaxe’s authors. The app presents some of this online-hosted content alongside the texts of the poems, while still allowing the user to read the written poems when offline. The intention here was to combine the multimedia capabilities of the mobile or tablet device with the offline reading abilities of an e-book reader, while also trying to minimise the amount of memory required to download and run the app.
The live version of the app currently contains work by over forty poets, with scope for it to updated by the team at Bloodaxe via a simple web interface that was designed to accompany the app.
The app can be dowloaded here:
A non-functional demo version of the update interface can be viewed here:
The image gallery below also shows some of the app’s features.
The source code for the mobile application and the server-side scripts for updating it can be found on GitHub:
A copy of this source code is also stored at the data.ncl research data repository at Newcastle University:
Bloodaxe Poetry source code on data.ncl [LINK TO BE ADDED]
The development of this mobile app began a consideration of the intermedial priorities of digital poetry publication. The ability to present written text alongside audio and video recordings in the same interface was the main feature of the mobile device that we sought to exploit within the app. Poetry’s status as a literary form that is commonly distributed in writing and (here, recorded) performance invites the attempt to present these different medial forms together.
While the app is in most ways a very conventional mobile interface, it represents a first step in considering how the materiality of the print-codex paradigm interacts with the audio-visual technologies embedded in the device. Features such as the random opening lines displayed on the app’s front page, and the ability to hide the toolbar on the reading display, were informed by perceived positive aspects of printed-book-reading that we had not seen widely emulated in digital reading interfaces.
Later projects in the PhD were informed by this initial approach, as I explored other ways that the media-specific features of different instances of the same poetic work could be combined to generate new effects.
Related Portfolio Entries
Another mobile application created for accessing poetry.
- Rhythm Tapper
The first in a series of experiments with mixing poetry’s different medial features, sparked by the development of this app.
- Weather-based interface
An experimental poetry display designed as a potential extension to the Bloodaxe Poetry app.
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