Finally, the Poetry Finder

I am having far too much fun working on the metadata extensions to Wordform. So much so that I don’t really want to quit at night. Not only code–after I release the beta next week, I have several writings in the works that are going to be as much fun (at least to me). In fact, April could very well end up being my best month in weblogging.

I’ve finished a couple of the metadata extensions, and now I need to turn my eye and code on the final one I plan on releasing before the end of the month–the Poetry Finder. Yes that long promised and delayed functionality has finally found the place where it can be most easily integrated in every day usage; all that’s needed now, is to define the beginnings of the vocabulary.


That’s where you all come in. As I’ve said in the past, I have a limited high school education, only completing all my coursework for the 9th grade, and dropping out in the 10th. No regrets–I lived a life of wonderous adventure. However, a significant impact of this is that I did not have any high school English, including any studies about the form and format of poems.

I’ve learned a great deal, thanks to knowledgable webloggers who have shared both their interest and expertise. I’ve been introduced to both works and writers, as well as intepretations of same. I’ve found my own favorites among those I’ve met through others and on my own.

Still, there is a vast difference between appreciating a poem, and understanding the mechanics of one. In addition, there is much about how a poem or its component parts can be identified and described that I know absolutely nothing about.

I could spend weeks and years learning all about poetry; but then, you all could spend weeks and years learning how to program and work with operating systems so that you can make your own modifications or fixes. Each of us has unique knowledge that we share with each other and that’s, to me, the strength of this environment–even beyond the friendships we make.

Plus when working with technology, those who create the applications are frequently the worst when it comes to defining what’s important, and how the application is to be used. In my previous jobs, when we started to build a picture of the business data and processes, we would search out subject matter experts and get their help. Therefore I’m searching out subject matter experts among you.

You don’t have to be a poet or have taught poetry (though I have my eye on a few individuals) to help. If you know enough about poetry to define a poem and describe it mechanically; to understand the importance of concepts such as metaphors (and whatever else there is comparable); or you have ideas of how you would like to search for specific poems, please lend me a hand.

What I’m asking is for you to grab some poems, perhaps some favorites, and then pretend that you’re describing the poem for a group of tenth graders. What are some of the characteristics you would use in your description?

Now imagine doing the same with a group of friends.

Also, if you were to sit down at the Internet and go looking for a poem, what are your ideal search parameters? Would you look for a type of poem, or the period? Would you want to find poems that focus on a specific topic, or use a particular metaphor? Using a poet’s name or name of the work is a given–it’s for the more subtle searches that I need your help.

I know there are types of poems, such as haiku; poetic constructs such as stanza and meter; poetic imagery such as the use of metaphors; even periods of poetry. But I don’t know which of these is truly meaningful for describing, and most particularly, for searching.

The more responses, both from one person and from many people, the better the vocabulary. Though I need the poets and teachers in the crowd, I also need folks who just love poetry–or language or languages for that matter. I realize I could grab some of these terms and look for tags in and Technorati for relevant material, but I don’t necessarily have time for this particular tree to grow–I want to finish the components of the Poetry Finder this month. (Though I will also be examining these–the more input, the better.)

As I build the vocabulary, I’ll print it online so that you can check my work and my progress. I really do appreciate your help, and hope I can deliver something interesting in return.

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