City Poems: A New Literary iPhone App

Writ­ing in The Guardian, Vic­tor Kee­gan, a long­time jour­nal­ist and poet, talks about his new iPhone app, City Poems. The new­ly released app will run you $2.99 on iTunes, which makes it less than open, I know. (Have you seen our free app, by the way?) But it’s admit­ted­ly a pret­ty nice con­cept for the cul­tur­al crowd, enough to jus­ti­fy giv­ing it a quick men­tion here. About City Poems, Kee­gan says:

City Poems – pub­lished today – … uses satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion to guide cul­ture vul­tures and tourists alike through the streets of cen­tral Lon­don poem by poem. After weeks of research­ing poems about the city, I realised that you can learn more about the past life of a city from poems than from most guide books and his­to­ries. Wher­ev­er you are stand­ing in Lon­don (or New York for that mat­ter) with an iPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad) in your hand it will tell you how many metres you are away from places and events that poems have been writ­ten about.

They include the exe­cu­tion of the crim­i­nal Jonathan Wild (one of the inspi­ra­tions for John Gay’s The Beg­gar’s Opera), pub­lic burn­ings in Smith­field (“His guts filled a bar­rel”) or the curi­ous sto­ries behind the stat­ues in Trafal­gar Square, which I had passed by in igno­rance for many decades…

Like I said, an intrigu­ing con­cept, and it seems as though Kee­gan has plans to bring this mate­r­i­al to oth­er mobile plat­forms. You can grab the app on iTunes here.

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