Poets Helping Poets: Software for Poets?

Recently, I asked for some feedback on possible software for poets at the request of a poet friend of mine. Personally, I still write poems out with a pen on paper before copying them over into Composition Notebooks. It’s super lo-tech, but it’s a system that works for me.

Here’s what other poets had to say on the subject of software:

“I have used verseperfect in the past. Find it here http://www.bryantmcgill.com/Free_Rhyming_Dictionary/.”

–John Nixon


“Are poets not writers? Assuming your reader was referring to WD’s software article in the Jul/Aug issue, there were several programs mentioned of use to poets, including Word Menu and Bullfighter (probably best for performace poets!), plus any of the submission tracking programs. Poets could presumably even make creative use of the programs focused on plot and character development, and the voice recognition software might be helpful for the overly page-bound scribes out there.


“If they’re looking for software that will actually help them write a good poem, though, there thankfully is no such beast. Imagine the books of celebrity poetry flooding the shelves if there were?”

–Guy LeCharles Gonzalez


“In response, this here is a fun bit of web-related poetry writing software:


“’tis a google poetry machine/robot/thing and can produce amusing, even occasionally helpful results.”

–Nathan Hamilton


“Well, there’s RACTER – the poem-writing program Christian Bok describes in his essay ‘The Piecemeal Bard Is Deconstructed,’ which you can find here: http://www.ubu.com/papers/object/03_bok.pdf

“Don’t know that it’s commercially available, though, I must say.”

–John Moore Williams


“Though they’re not specifically aimed at poets per se, it strikes me that the hypertext possibilities of Storyspace and HTML accord much more closely with poetry’s nonlinear, allusive impulses than with narrative.

“You might also check out http://epc.buffalo.edu/e-poetry/.

“Also, Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics by Brian Kim Stefans discusses software he developed to generate random text with a poetry-like texture; an example of a long poem thus produced is included.”

–Theo Hussein Hummer
“I’ve used rhyming software before that poet Andrew Hudgins passed down to me. My computer crashed, though, and so I no longer have that software, but I’m sure there are plenty of good versions.”
–Heather Kirn
“I’ve been wanting to create a post about this, and I probably still will–but in the meantime, here’s what I use: OneNote. It’s part of Microsoft Office (and it’s included in the Student and Teacher edition) which sounds like marketing–but then, I worked on the initial help for the very first version, so of course I’m biased.

“Why is OneNote cool? Because of the way it’s organized. You set up Notebooks, Sections, and Pages. For poetry, I’ll either start a section for a project (especially in the early phases, when I’m just capturing as many ideas and images as I can) or I’ll set up a section for an individual poem. Then, I create a separate page for each draft. That way, if I cut everything out and decide I need it back, I just click one of the page tabs. I also have a section for free writes, and a general section where I might keep lists of places to send to or ideas for future poems.

“OneNote has fantastic Search, so if I remember some odd phrase that I typed six months ago, I can find it. The built-in flags are another way to save snippets for later. And there are possibilities I haven’t explored yet, like using the Send to Word command to get poems ready for submitting or tracking contest deadlines in OneNote and using the task integration in Outlook to send myself reminders.

“This isn’t software to help me become a better writer–it won’t suggest verbs or slash adjectives (although it does have dictionary and thesaurus tools). But it’s an organizational tool so that I can spend less time hunting and more time creating.”

–Joannie Stangeland

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7 thoughts on “Poets Helping Poets: Software for Poets?

  1. ssmall

    For tracking my submissions I use a software called Published! I can track revisions to my manuscripts in addition to submissions, publishers etc –also revenues and expense. Its available on the Mac Store but they have a limited lite version on their web site : http://appwithhat.com

  2. Amaris

    This isn’t always helpful, but a site I visit every now and again (sometimes for inspiration) is http://www.writerhymes.com/. I’m not an awfully big rhymer, but there’s the occasional need. I love my thesaurus and am a firm believer in reading to expand the vocabulary, so don’t disregard tangible books as valuable tools, too! 🙂

  3. Rodney C. Walmer

    I have a steno notebook I always keep in my car, no I do not take steno whatever that is. But, I have written much in there before going to the computer. Though, over time, I have learned to write my thoughts directly to the computer. I use Wordperfect a very very old version. I am surprised it even works with Windows XP, as most programs from that time period no longer work with the current tech. This version is from 1995. Back then, I paid $150 for it. Since, I have found many free software word processors that work much better, but I like Wordperfect the best. I do all of my lesson plans and poetry writing in it. I purchased Version 12 a couple of years ago at a huge educator discount from Staples. I forget what I paid. I used it 2 maybe three times, and just found zero comfort with the program. So, I went back to my old one. Thank you for the software ideas Robert, I will of course check them out, but I will probably stay with what works for me, until it no longer works with my systems.


  4. Margaret Fieland

    Robert, thanks for this. I’ll have to try out some of the software you mention here.

    Perhaps strangely since my day job is a computer software engineer, I’m comparatively low-tech in my writing life I love my browser and the ability to open a window and look something up if necessary, but I rarely use even a rhyming dictionary, as I have an algorithm that I use to generate the rhyming words, and using it helps me to think about each word.

    If I’m really "stuck" — eg, none of my rhymes seems to inspire me — I will go to rhymezone (http://www.rhymezone.com), but my most frequent lookup in my writing life is the thesaurus at http://www.dictioinary.com. The online thesauraus is my friend.

  5. Charles Schoenfeld

    The section on submission tracking programs is woefully incomplete, in that it doesn’t mention WritersDB.com.

    I’m a little biased in that I built the Writer’s Database site, but it does have some unique features and more than a few satisfied users.

  6. Carol A. Stephen

    Thanks for this, Robert. After reading the article in WD, I did purchase WordMenu, which will help with some aspects.
    I guess I was looking for the kind of instructional help that is available in many, many books, on structure and formatting as well. OneNote sounds like a great tool as well.
    I have no problem with Word for what it does, and not looking for something that writes the poems for me.
    Just something to help me make a good poem better.
    Reading books is ok, but time-consuming.
    I will check out the different suggestions and see how they look!


  7. Pris Campbell

    OneNote sounds like a great way to organize ideas and search for them later but I’m still having difficulty with the distinction between writers and poets. I write both fiction and poetry and do so in Word. It serves my needs for either. All I have to do is format so that it doesn’t automatically capitalize each word after a line break.


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