Poetry News

The future of poetry: Rapid 3D prototyping!

By Harriet Staff

We've seen video poetry all across YouTube, JavaScript navigations of Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson, and even a few Prezi poems, so what does the next advancement in technology mean for poets? ALA TechSource explores what the terrain might look like if libraries adopted 3D printing and fabrication technology. This would be a natural environment for literature and technology to collide. Sure there are potential legal issues involved in copying other people's objects, but what about transforming your own two-dimensional words? Bruce Nauman has the lock on neon and Jenny Holzer is dominating LEDs, so you might as well stake out a future in plastics, son.

The next step in this technology is the move to home use. People in the industry like to say that 3D printing is currently where the homebrew computer scene was in the early 80’s; full of hobbyists and hackers, but poised to become the next big thing. This is nowhere more evident than in Makerbot and RepRap, two of the more popular 3D-fab-at-home solutions. For under $1500, you can buy and install a system from either seller that allows you to make your own 3D printed objects at home. Even better, a library could purchase a 3D printer, and make it available for use for the public.

(Even EVEN better is that these machines can replicate themselves, so pretty soon even the most hardened Luddites in your writing group could be prototyping instead of typewriting).

Right now, the best poetry-objects out there are napkin rings that you can customize with your own poems. Surely you can do better than that.

Originally Published: February 14th, 2011