Monthly Archives: October 2018

Poetry Roulette: A New Way to Discover Poetry

We are all familiar in some way or another with the popular casino game roulette. The wheel spinning game involves a gamer who bets on where a wheel spins, with a choice of numbers (whether individual or odd/even), number groupings or colours (red and black). You can read up on the rules of the game here. Roulette is so ubiquitous in cultural references that it is called upon as a synonym for luck and chance.

As a casino classic, roulette evokes a wide range of cinema tropes from the classy settings of a James Bond movie to the smoky gambling dens of a Scorsese movie, not to mention its more gruesome manifestation in Russian Roulette, made famous in The Deerhunter. But there is more to this game than these traditional casino and film environments. Roulette lends itself to the random introduction of new facts and subjects, and Poetry Roulette does just that.

Ingeniously based on three spinning grids, Poetry Roulette allows you to find and read new poems based on a spin which revolves around either moods or themes (tags). Say you take a spin in the mood section, three random options will then pop up from which you can choose one. In our test of the game, we found ourselves drawn to the “tortured” mood, from which we read a wonderfully dark, insomnia fuelled poem by Lorine Niedecker. If you fancy a poetry selection based on a theme, you similarly spin to receive three random “tags”. We were attracted to “bright lights, big city” as a theme, from which we received a bright tome recounting the beauty of city life by Dionna Brant. Aside from being a unique and useful means if discovering new poems through an engaging interface, Poetry Roulette also allows you to play roulette with poets themselves, allowing you to discover one of three poets, both new and old, whose biography and poems you can read.

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