3 for Free

From the May/June 2010 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

These days we all need to be cognizant of how much money we're spending. In this feature, we offer a few suggestions for podcasts, smartphone apps, Web tools, newsletters, museum shows, and gallery openings: a medley of literary curiosities that you might enjoy. And if you don't? Hey, they're free.

1. Poem Flow, an iPhone application released in February by the Academy of American Poets in conjunction with TextTelevision, features a daily poem that can be viewed in a standard lineated format or, if the user's phone is turned on its side, in a flowing animation. And when the iPhone's Geolocation function is turned on, Poem Flow will inform the user exactly when and where the day's poem was last viewed. Twenty free poems are included with the app; additional poems can be purchased for less than a penny each (www.poemflow.com). 

2. With no fluff, no blather, and no interviewer's interruptions, The Writers' Block, a weekly podcast from KQED in San Francisco, features authors reading from newly published books—period. Recent guests have included poet Kristen Tracy; novelists Amy Bloom, Joshua Ferris, and Adam Haslett; and memoirists Mary Karr and Patti Smith (www.kqed.org/arts/programs/writersblock).

3. May is National Short Story Month, a relatively new designation that has been gaining traction with the support of blogs such as the Emerging Writers Network (emerging writers.typepad.com) and contests like the Story Prize (www.thestoryprize.org). Look for online reading groups, public readings, and other free events throughout the month. Or, if thirty-one days is too short, check out the yearlong Short Story Challenge (theshortstorychallenge.blogspot.com).