QR Poetry

Thumb through the latest issue of Real Simple or O magazine, and you’ve probably come across a unique graphic such as this one at the bottom of an advertisement. This is a QR code.

A quick response (QR) code is a bar code that can be scanned with a QR code-reading app, or it can be photographed and emailed from a smart phone to a company’s website. Most are black and white but I’ve seen them in color. By scanning the code, your web browser is redirected to a unique url that promotes a company’s product, giveaway, or contest. They seem to be everywhere these days.

I’m always interested in the new next, so how can poets and poetry organizations use this latest technology? What if, by scanning a poetry QR code, a reader of a poetry publication could unlock poems available to subscribers only? Or, what if poets used QRs as a way of promoting their upcoming titles by releasing a few poems as a teaser? You can go to any free QR site and generate your own unique code. And there are apps that can do it on the fly. This generation of poetry lovers seems to appreciate the integration of hi-tech wizardry with poetry's low-tech aesthetic.

What other possibilities are available for QR codes and the lit world? If you have any ideas, or have seen these codes used by publishers, journals/zines, or writers, let me know.


Our graduation speaker in June left a QR code on every graduate's chair. The speaker was a youngish guy (late 20's) in charge of his own ad firm. I'm not sure what site the QR code took the graduates to--probably something that advertised his firm. I spent the whole graduation clapping for graduates while wondering about the implications of the future, particularly for poets and other types of artists.

I've also been intrigued by tales of people leaving their poems places--like sewing them into thrift store clothes.

Somewhere, there's a place where these activities could meet . . .
January said…
Yes! How cool would that be? I could see a QR code campaign during National Poetry Month.

Hmmm ... something to think about.
Maureen said…
Some great ideas, here, January, and lots of potential. I could see the code being used on the Author pages on FB or other social networks and on publishers' sites. I could imagine it embedded in video, and providing it at readings or putting it on bookmarks or the like that are given away as promos during book announcements.
DJ Vorreyer said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJ Vorreyer said…
Sorry - major spelling mistake in the previous try.

Maureen, I like your idea of a giveaway at a reading having a QR code. On the other side of the coin, however, I don't own a smart phone, so I would not be able to access the material that poets were providing in this way, which would make me sad.
Pam said…
The code doesn't have to be about advertising or marketing. Museums are starting to use Q codes to send visitors to micro-sites that have info on the artist etc. Visitors use their smart phones. Microsoft makes its own kind of Q code...they come in colors. The museum where I work is doing a pilot program on this technology. The micro sites can contain all kinds of stuff--graphics, text, video etc. Like mini websites created specifically for smart phones.
I'm looking at how Q code technology could be used in classrooms.
January said…
Hi Pam.

Very cool. Sounds like your museum is trying out some cutting-edge promotional work. I work in the marketing dept. at Babson College and we're using QR codes as a way of promoting our homecoming/reunion events.

I have toyed around with creating a website using QR codes and as much new media marketing as I can. But by the time next book is published, the marketplace will be onto something else. Still, I'd like to see what the lit world can do with this technology.

Thanks for your comments.
carolee said…
here's something you may be interested in (i'm lucky enough to cull through some techie fun things for work!): http://mashable.com/2011/07/20/qr-code-fashion-yiying-lu/

QR codes & fashion & art (& marketing, of course), but maybe there are some clues there that will spark poetry application ideas!
January said…
Very cool. Thanks for the link, Carolee!
Anonymous said…
Check out Codex Journal: codexjournal.com. It's been around since the beginning of the year.
Anonymous said…
Check out: www.codexjournal.com. A QR Code literary magazine.

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