Little Box of Poems

Pome printed by Arduino

Anyone who’s unfortunate enough to follow me on Flickr knows that I’ve become a bit obsessed by till-roll lately. I bought a tiny thermal till-roll printer to hook up to my Arduino or RaspberryPi, the idea being to make a cheap version of the Berg Little Printer – which is a nice idea, but way too expensive for me. I decided instead to make one of these:, only possibly with a RaspberryPi controlling it, instead of an Arduino.

I got my £40 printer from Proto-Pic, realised I’d forgotten to order paper, ran out to Rymans to buy thermal till-roll, spent ages winding it onto a small spool, and chucked at my oh-so-meta receipt. I had to butcher an old camera power supply to get 5 volts at 2 amps to the printer – it’s a thermal printer, it needs current to get hot. Soon I got bored printing test patterns, so I replaced the default test text with a short Imagist poem by Ezra Pound.

Then I had an idea.

Instead of making an internet-connected printer spewing out tweets and weather, why not make a totally self-contained gadget that simply prints a random short poem when you press a button? I have a big, red shiny button in my drawer of electrical bits. This could be good. A little box of poems. Put it in your school. Put it in your workplace. Press the button. Rip & read. Pass them on. I’ve been handing little poems to all sorts of people today. It’s a nice thing to do.

Little Box of Poems - work in progress

So I need your suggestions for great short poems, please. I’m kind of drowning in William Carlos Williams at the moment. Which is fine, but some others would be good. So far only one person has suggested any, so I am starting to wonder if I am crazy. I want to see how many poems I can cram into the Arduino’s tiny ZX Spectrum-sized memory.

UPDATE: I’ve now given my Little Box of Poems a Raspberry Pi filling!

This entry was posted in Arduino, hardware, literature, poetry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Little Box of Poems

  1. Bethan says:

    Now that’s a use of technology I can thoroughly approve of.

    How short does a short poem have to be? I have plenty of haiku books I could pillage for you. Or how about the 13 mini-poems constituting Wallace Stevens’ “13 ways of looking at a blackbird”? Eg:

    I do not know which to prefer,
    The beauty of inflections
    Or the beauty of innuendoes,
    The blackbird whistling
    Or just after.

  2. blogmywiki says:

    I don’t know those – they sound lovely, but possibly a project (or box) in itself?

    I think 4 or 5 lines max. Haiku me up!

  3. sasha says:

    pretty amazing project, but could you hook it up to something like a random poem generator on the web?

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