I Finally GET Magnetic Poetry

I have been using magnetic poetry to create “Choose Your Own Poem Adventures” for the last couple of weeks. Here are some tools that finally helped me make this fun tool readily available so that I actually use it.

The problem with magnetic poetry? It is easy to lose track of them. They sit in odd containers, a Gordian Knot of magnetic piles that make it nigh on impossible to see the words. Too much friction for me. What seemed like a good idea becomes a pain to untangle.

An anarchy of magnetic poetry

Then I adapted a tool from auto repair to poetry–the magnetic parts holder.

A magnetic word holder–the antepenultimate wonder of the poetic world

These cost a few bucks at a Chinesium big box store like Harbor Freight Salvage. They also come in different shapes and sizes. I had this one handy and un-besmudged with oil and grease. On its own, if you put these in the magparts holder, well…it is just another magball of words with slightly more visible. That’s where this little tools comes in handy A metal Altoids Mint container.

Most of the words are stored here and thence inside the magnetic parts holder.

Magnetic fields engaged!

I store these within reach over my desk.

Words at hand and ready to work? Yes!

Now for the second part of my plan for world magnetic poetry dominance–the whiteboard. I keep about a third of the magnetic words “in play” and on the board at all times.

Words in play, words at hand, words at play, words that land.

I put down some Dry Erase tape on the whiteboard as both background and as a helpful way to add punctuation or words or letters that I don’t have in my magpo supply box. You always lose the little letters (or at least I did).

This stuff has a magic all its own

Play, play, play. Here’s one I did today.

Here we are. No, really. We are here, we are here, we are here.

And then I took it and used an iPhone app, Prisma, to translate it once again.

Prizmazoic Transliteration

Time to clear the decks. How to do that? All those tiny magnetic words. What if you don’t have good fingernails for prising them from the whiteboard? Use a strong magnet, of course. (Be careful not to get your magnet close to your monitor or to your phone. They might remove the magic smoke that is at the core of the phone.) Here’s video showing me fumbling around doing this. Fumbling is my normal course, so don’t worry.

Last, I put all the words back into the Altoids tin and shake the holy hell out of them in order to randomize their magnetic whatsits. I dump a few into the magnetic parts holder and then put them back on the board. Probably not enough. That’s OK, I can shake it some more and add more.

Reset the board and get magnetically oriented.

All of these tools are cheap, readily available, and if kept at hand will likely make you magnetically attractive.

Here’s a draft of a new poem.

Draft One


  1. // Reply

    yeah. cool. Funny — I thought you were doing some online magnetic poetry — for my remix, I did multiple screenshots, and then use a collage maker to reconstruct your words into the new poem — put the whole dang thing through an image filter — you know, what we do …

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