Magnetic Poetry tool is an interesting device that can serve multiple purposes outside its original plan. The system it uses is simple and can be understood with just a look. The objective for the user is anything they would like to use this system for, from writing a poem to creating fun sentences or poem
Magnetic Poetry was invented by Dave Kapell who used pieces of paper with words on them and rearranged them to overcome writer’s block in order to compose his song lyrics. However this was inconvenient because when he sneezed, the pieces of paper scattered all over changing the original order of the words. To prevent this from occurring, Dave stuck the words to magnets and used a pizza tin to stick the words too. Then one day the words from the pizza tin stuck to the refrigerator and his friends try to make their own little poems on the refrigerator. His friends were having so much fun creating their own lyrics that he decided to sell various sets of magnetic poems at a local crafts fair. The Magnetic Poetry kits sold out within 3 hours. Dave knew he created something special.
The Magnetic Poetry kit comes with 300 words and word fragments that the user can play with to create their own poems. The kit only comes with a single instance of selected words while there are a couple copies of certain word fragments. Fragments includes ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘r’, ‘y’ and ‘ly’. These fragments can be used to change the form of the verb. The parts of speech that are included are verb, noun, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition and conjunction. All of these magnets come in a clear plastic box to enable the user to carry all the various words with ease.
The physical attributes of Magnetic Poetry is very distinct. The words are printed on rectangular magnets in Times New Roman Font in black on white background. Each magnets have the same height but the length varies based on how long the word that is printed. When the poem or sentence is form, the magnets will look like one continuous line when the words are placed side by side. However the words do not necessarily have to be placed side by side. It is usually encouraged that the poem or sentences are crooked to give is a more visual “flair”.
There is a certain audience that Magnetic Poetry is gear towards based on its physical design. All of the pieces are small and follows a black and white color scheme. The small magnetic pieces can be easily swallowed by little children. The black and white color scheme does not have the same appeal to youths as to adults as it is not very “exciting” to look at. However, this system can be used to assist children in learning and understanding the English language. It is a system that can educate and show examples of various uses of the parts of speech.
Due to the design nature of Magnetic Poetry, the words can be stuck to any magnetic surface such as a refrigerator or white board. The magnets on the words are strong enough to stick to the magnetic surface but weak enough that the user can easily remove or rearrange the words at will. This allows the user to continue to iterate on their poem or sentence if they are not satisfied with it. Another use of the Magnetic Poetry is to form a grocery list or any sort of list. With the magnets on the refrigerator, the user can clearly see what sort of groceries he or she needs to purchase with a quick glance.
There are a couple of restrictions on the user’s creativity in using this kit in forming poems or sentences. There are only 300 words that can be used and the words cannot appear twice in a sentence due to only a single instance of each word existing in the kit. With these constraints, the user can think of some really creative string of thoughts with just the words given to them. It is not explicitly stated but there is an additional restriction that the user may follow. It is the rules of the English language. In utilizing English words to create English sentences, there are certain grammatical patterns that need to be followed in order for the sentence to make sense. It is a rule that is unconsciously followed when users interact with this system.
This system can be seen outside of the Magnetic Poetry environment. Software engineers and designers have been using Post-It-Notes to record their ideas and group related Post-It-Notes together. Post-It-Notes have an adhesive strip that allows it to be stuck to almost any surface and it is made of paper so it can be written on. However an important difference is that anything can be written or drawn on the Post-It-Notes and can be damaged easily. The magnets can be reused and is constructed out of stronger materials.
A different variation is seen in the digital space. On a computer, a user can highlight a word in a word editor and move the word to a different part of a sentence with a use of a cursor. Instead of deleting and retyping the words, the word editor allows the user to easily rearrange the words in the sentence like how it is done in Magnetic Poetry.
Dave Kapell expanded his Magnetic Poetry line by creating a variety of sets like “The Poet Kit” and “Sexual Innuendo Kit.” They still only have 300 words but based on the kit, there are different words based on the theme.
In conclusion, Magnetic Poetry has a very accessible system. The purpose is apparent with just a glance. It encourages the users to create interesting sentences or poems due to its size and variety of words given. The magnets prevent the pieces from being “blown away” from external sources however the system can still function without a magnetic surface for the pieces to stick on. Words can still be put together and rearranged on any surface that the user decides to work on.
It also introduces the process of iteration in a very simple fashion. Iteration has proven to be important in creating and maintaining products or services. It is an important skill to learn in any situation. With this system, one can create beautiful songs to learning the basic foundations of the English language.