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Magnetic Poetry kit for the internet: Storytelling site Storybird adds poetry app

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Storybird, the Toronto-based website that lets users add text to professionally created art to tell a story, launched a poetry HTML5 app this week.

The idea is somewhat similar to those Magnetic Poetry Kits: Users slide preselected words on top of artwork to create a poem. “The whole process takes less than a minute on your phone or tablet,” Storybird posted on its blog Thursday.

Storybird CEO Mark Ury told me that about 20 percent of the works that users created on Storybird were poetry,”so we knew we had demand.”

On the blog, he outlined the reasons that the company is excited about launching a poetry option:

“1. Fits on a phone, so that our members can use it anywhere. We want visual storytelling everywhere, because people and their stories are everywhere.

2. An even simpler storytelling format. Stories are hard to write and take time! Poetry is short and sweet. We used the same creative constraints for Poetry as we did with books: you can do only one thing, but that one thing is fantastic.

3. Poems are hyper social and look great on Facebook (s FB), Tumblr, and Pinterest. Your friends, family, and fans can easily read, share, and embed them.

4. They’re stunning. Poetry scales from the phone to the desktop (an AMAZING engineering and aesthetic feat from the team) to ensure the art looks great. It uses the same colour algorithms as our book covers and includes a light transparency on the word vessels, which makes the final compositions elegant and rich.

5. As with books and artwork comments, Poetry is designed to be family friendly. The word sets are fixed and were developed by a seasoned book editor from one of the Big Six publishing houses to enable creative expression without creative maligning.” (Ury wouldn’t say who the editor is.)

Storybird, which launched in 2010, has over two million members. The company has raised $850,000 in seed funding and is advised by former Tumblr exec John Maloney. The site operates on a freemium model, selling memberships to teachers and individuals, and also lets users pay to download stories as PDFs or order print versions of their creations. If the poetry model takes off, Ury says, Storybird will “sell downloads to print at home. If those do well, we’ll offer professionally printed cards or small posters.”

Many Storybird customers are schools. The poetry option isn’t rolled out for school accounts yet, but will be available to them soon.