national poetry month, exploring through maps

April is National Poetry Month. (Sure, why not? It has to be sometime, if we can’t have National Poetry Day year-round!)  There are several map-using-poetry-sites I’ve become aware of lately, including:

  1.  Places of Poems and Poets (part of an online poetry collection done by the libraries at the University of Toronto)
  2. Poetry Atlas (created/maintained by Tam Tam, a media company in the UK)
  3. a National Poetry Map, from poets.org
  4. a World Poetry Map, focusing on poets representing scarce-spoken languages, funded by the NEA and others.  (Is that really the dividing line between Europe and Asia? Really?)

Basically these are all mashups with point locations that document an author’s birthplace or native state/country, or maybe the landscape about which the poem is based, etc.  Simple geocoding or geotagging has taken place. So in every case the maps are simply an organizational template for the poems,  not something that necessarily give any new insights.

What would be even better?  A site that uses other geographical “filters” to discover poems.  That is, show me poems about waterfalls AND show me the images of where those waterfalls are.  Or, if it’s a poem about a gritty urban scene, show me some gritty urban scenes.  A poem about a historical time at a particular place?  How about linking it to HistoryPin or WhatWasThere?

And while we’re at it, how about a little audio, people?  Reading poetry is terrific, but I love listening to it too.  It’s easy to record someone reading a poem and link to that recording in the placemark.  It could even be done in native tongue and then a translation.  And, while you’re at it, how about with the sound of waterfalls in the background too?

If anyone knows any sites that creatively uses poetry and maps, please share them.

h/t to Google Maps Mania for some of the sites.

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