Tag Archives: literature

My review of Poem Reader, an Alexa skill

This review is of Poem Reader, an Alexa skill which can be accessed using the Amazon Echo.

Amazon’s website describes Poem Reader as:
“Poem Reader is a random collection of poems for the whole family. Enable the skill to ask for today’s poem or the daily rhyme. Alexa will say the poem, not sing it. This skill is meant to help teach you the words to some popular poems and rhymes.”

Having used Poem Reader, it is, in my view more of a vehicle for having nursery rhymes recited than a means of accessing poetry more generally. Each time I asked Poem Reader for a poem and/or rhyme, it produced a rhyme more suited to young children than the family as a whole.

Amongst the rhymes voiced by Alexa was Hickory Dickory Dock, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Little miss Muffet and Goosey Goosey Gander.

This skill does, perhaps possess the potential to amuse young children and those with an interest in nursery rhymes. However, from my use of Poem Reader, I believe that the description is somewhat misleading in that it implies a broad selection of rhymes/poems, when what is in fact included is largely (perhaps exclusively) a collection of nursery rhymes.

For anyone interested in checking out Poem Reader, it can be found here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poem-Reader-Poems-for-Everyone/dp/B01LFXD2LY/.

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

In Defence of “Said”\

A spirited defence of the use of the word “said”, for which I have considerable sympathy, https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/10/literary-value-ten-cent-word-maura-roan-mckeegan.html.

Whilst it is, of course, good practice to use alternative words for “said” where appropriate, in many instances this simple, 4 letter word is the best choice for writers.

As always, I would be interested in the views of my readers.

Kevin

Free book promotion!

My book ‘Streetwalker and other stories’ will be free in the Amazon Kindle Store, from the 11th – 15th October.

In this collection of flash fiction we meet a variety of characters, many of whom have been deeply damaged by life. The stories range from a young prostitute who walks the dangerous streets of London to tales of vengeance and comeuppance. Serious issues of abuse of power are touched upon. Anyone who is looking for a comfortable read should avoid this book.

‘Streetwalker and other stories’ is available here for the UK and here for the US.

 

Poet Kevin Morris holding a copy of his recently published Selected Poems.

My thanks to my friend Shanelle for taking the below photographs, which show me holding a copy of my recently released Selected Poems. For anyone who is visually impaired, the front cover shows a close up image of bluebells in Spa Woods, a wooded area close to the poets home in Upper Norwood. Spa Woods was once part of The Great North Wood, and contains many ancient oaks. The back cover is also shown, and displays a picture of the poet at the entrance to Spa Woods, close to an historic house.

The Selected Poems of K Morris are available in ebook and Paperback here for the UK and here for the US.

 

Celebrate National Poetry Day

Today (3 October) is National Poetry Day here in the United Kingdom. This years theme is truth, although you can write about anything, https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/celebrate-national-poetry-day/.

To celebrate National Poetry Day I am publishing my poem “Shadows On The Wall”:

“Shadows on the wall,

I recall.

One cannot catch a shade,

For it is made

Of moonbeams

And passing dreams”.

“Shadows On The Wall” can be found in “The Selected Poems of K Morris”, which is available in paperback and Kindle formats here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WW8WXPP/.

If you wish to share a poem you can use the hashtag #NationalPoetryDay.