Tag Archives: games

My review of the British Poetry Alexa skill

Being the owner of an Amazon Echo and a lover of poetry, I recently enabled the Alexa skill of the same name, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adam-Krell-British-Poetry/dp/B07B269592.

The British Poetry Alexa skill enables the user of an Echo to ask that a poem is read. There is also the opportunity to play a game to test your knowledge of British poetry.

Turning first to the read a poem feature, I found this rather hit and miss. For example on asking for a poem by the famous composer of humorous verse, Edward Lear, a poem by Sir Thomas Wyatt was voiced by Alexa. Just how Edward Lear can be equated with Sir Thomas Wyatt astounds me! I had more luck when requesting that a poem by Shakespeare, Wordsworth or William Blake be read. Had British Poetry not found the latter poets I would have disabled the British Poetry skill.

I previously favourably reviewed the My Poems Alexa skill, https://kmorrispoet.com/2019/10/31/my-review-of-my-poems-an-alexa-skill-enabling-the-amazon-echo-user-to-listen-to-poetry/. In that review I commend the fact that the poetry in My Poems is voiced by human actors. Unfortunately this is not the case with the British Poetry Alexa skill.

As regards the facility enabling the user of British Poetry to play a game, I enjoyed using this aspect of the app. The player is read the first few lines of a poem and then asked to say who the poet in question is. There are 3 options to choose from and I must confess to having crossed my fingers on several occasions and made a wild guess as to who the poet in question was!

Whilst (as mentioned above), the facility enabling the user to request that a particular poem is read is rather hit and miss, I did enjoy the game aspect of the British Poetry Alexa skill, and I shall return to play another day. However the My Poems app is, I believe of much more value to the lover of poetry.

Kevin

Cricket

Oh sleepy cricket
Where the languid batsman keeps his wicket.
I well recall
The sound of bat on ball.
Wicket after wicket did fall.
Then with one master stroke
A boy the classroom window broke …!

The above is based on my recollection of a game of cricket in which I participated while attending a school for the blind in Liverpool. We used footballs containing ballbearings in order that those with little or no sight could identify where the ball was (cricket balls would have been far too dangerous)!

Ball

A child plays ball below.
A long time ago
I lay in bed
The same sound running through my head.
The thud of ball on wall
Is all I recall.
The ball is now still
As evening falls over Beulah Hill.

As I wrote this, a child and an adult played ball in the garden below my home. The sound brought to mind lying in bed at boarding school (I was sick), as children played football in the playground below my window. The poem was penned today (as the game took place).

Chinese Whispers

“A Victorian lady has just walked past” my mum remarked as we walked through Liverpool city centre.

“A Victorian lady has just walked past?” I repeated in disbelief.

“No, I said a tall young lady has just walked past. How could a Victorian lady have just walked past?” my mum asked.

“She might have been in fancy dress” I responded.

 

The above exchange reminded me of Chinese Whispers, a game in which the first player says something which is relaid to the next person in the group who then passes it on to another player. The last person in the group is asked what he heard and this is compared with what was originally said. So

“Don’t be late for dinner tonight” becomes “I won’t be late tonight” or something even more bizarre!

 

Prior to the exchange my mum, her partner and I had just visited Liverpool’s historic Central Library the first part of which was constructed in 1860. I can only conjecture that my mind, still being full of the Victorian buildings somehow transformed “tall young lady” into “Victorian lady!” Perhaps I need to have my hearing tested!

 

You can find out more about Liverpool’s Central Library by visiting the following link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_Central_Library