Flickr Poet: Find Images to Illustrate Your Poetry

Here’s a fun find from the Flickr Blog: a new application called Flickr Poet, which takes the words for which you search and illustrates them with images from Flickr. It’s available at

The way it works is simple. Just enter some text, or a poem, or a paragraph. I tried the beginning of a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, My Dreams, My Works, Must Wait Till After Hell. You can read the whole poem at but here’s the beginning:

I hold my honey and I store my bread
In little jars and cabinets of my will.
I label clearly, and each latch and lid
I bid, Be firm till I return from hell.

Put the words in the search box and click Show Story, and the screen will slowly populate with images that match your words. Here’s how the Gwendolyn Brooks poem turned out:

If you don’t like how it turned out, you can click it again and you’ll get another set of photos to go with your poem. Clicking on individual images will take you to the Flickr page for that image.

The different sets of images sparked different reactions to the sets of words, and the various “Show Story” clicks brought a variety of image types, though individual images did occasionally repeat. There were only two things I didn’t like about the Flickr Poet. The first is the color of the letters. They’re kind of beige, which made them hard to read sometimes. You can’t match the letters to every possible color scheme, of course, but how about light colored letters with a dark outline? That might make them more universally readable.

The second thing is the fact that you can’t replace individual images in a story. You might get a set of images that looks great and really moves you — expect for one stupid picture. You can’t replace the one stupid picture, you have to replace them all. This might be intentional by design but it can also get frustrating!

Pull out your favorite poem and give it a try.

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