iF Poems is new poetry app for the iPad, described as ‘a poetry app for school-age children and for adults of any age’. It’s the first great poetry app I’ve seen for the iPad – apologies for the spoiler but I needed to mention that right off the bat.
The app includes 270 classic poems which have been carefully selected as works that the publishers feel are ‘a joy to pass down the generations, to share, to educate and enjoy’.
Many of the included poems have audio clips. These are read by the actors Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Nighy, Harry Enfield and Tom Hiddleston.
Here are some of its other key features:
You can record yourself reading a poem.
You can email a poem and email your recording of a poem.
You can tap on any word for a dictionary definition.
You can save poems to a Favourites page.
You can search by title, author, first line or by any word.
You can get a dictionary definition of any word.
— The content is superb. It’s a wonderful mix of poems that should have great appeal for children and adults alike. Poets include Yeats, Shakespeare, Milton, Auden, Coleridge, Kipling, Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, A A Milne, and so many more greats. There’s even quite a fun entry from the film maker Tim Burton.
— The audio clips / readings for many of the poems are just fantastic. Hearing Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade read by Bill Nighy is worth the price of admission on its own, and Helena Bonham Carter is consistently excellent on her readings.
— The interface of the app is understated and elegant and feels just right for an iPad poetry collection. The app is also easy to get around, so it’s easy to get to all the great poems.
— You can browse the poems by author or by a good range of categories which reflect the app’s focus on children. These include Growing Up, Nature, Seasons & Animals, Humour and Nonsense, Love & Friendship, Lessons for Life, Bedtime, and even a section on War, History & Death – which includes one of my all-time favorites, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, by W B Yeats. The poems are also divided by age groups – so you can look at titles selected for children 0-6, 7-12, or 13 and above.
— There’s also a section for just those poems that have audio versions, and a search area. You can search by name of poem, by poet’s name, by the first line of a poem, or for any word within a poem.
— You can mark poems as favorites, which are added to the My Poems section. It’s great to be able to record your own reading of any of the poems as well, and these are saved to the My Poems section too.
— Poet Bios are a single tap away on poem pages. These are very brief and even a little funny and quirky at times – again keeping children in mind.
— The app is designed for portrait mode only. I don’t really see why; I think most reading-centric titles should make the effort to make their app work in both orientations, as we all have our own preferences in terms of which mode is most comfortable to read in.
— The app feels like a 1.x version (which it is) in some places. The best example of this is that some of the main buttons do not respond consistently; many require multiple taps to get a response. I don’t think I’ve ever had the Play Audio button work on the first tap. Moving between pages and moving back within the interface also feels quite slow at times.
— When I add poems to Favorites, there seems to be a major delay before they actually get there. I was using the app for hours last night and some of my favorites never showed up in the My Poems section until this afternoon.
— When you browse the list of poets and choose a poet and then hit the Back button, it always returns to the very top of the list. It would be far more user friendly if it went back to the point in the list you left off at.
iF Poems is a great iPad app. As I said above, easily the best poetry app for the iPad, and for children, that I’ve seen.
If you’re a fan of poetry or would like your child to be, this is a superb app to have on hand and enjoy together. The excellent range of poets and selection of poems should provide something for everyone’s tastes. The wonderful readings should help to have children even more engaged while discovering the poems.
My wife and I are thrilled that our 8 year old daughter loves to read. I feel this app may well help her build a love for poetry as well.
Here’s an App Store link for iF Poems for iPad; it’s priced at $4.99.
Disclosure: This app was independently purchased by the post author in the iPad App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the "About" page.