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How to Create Animated Poetry: Guest Post by Sheila Moore

Categories: Guest Posts, How to Write Poetry, Writing Poetry, Poetry Publishing, Poets Helping Poets.

Please welcome today’s guest blogger Sheila Moore, who is a published author, avid poet, writer and reader. Sheila’s poetry chapbook, Shaping Time, is available for purchase on her poetry blog, She’s Writing… Sheila also blogs about her writing and reading adventures at Writing With My Eyes Closed. She lives with her husband and daughters in the Midwestern United States and can be found on Twitter @Shewriting or on Facebook.

 

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I have been writing poetry in spiral notebooks and journals for 25 years. Recent advances in technology have helped me transform my handwritten poems into animated poetry, which can involve using motion or animation as well as sound, music, photography, videography, written text and spoken words. In animated poetry, the viewer’s visual perception of these components becomes as important as the poem’s text itself.

While there are various programs you can use to create animated poetry, I will outline the steps to take using Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 to create your own multimedia works of art.

Steps to Create an Animated Poem (using PowerPoint)

  1. Click on the “Design” tab and choose a decorative slide theme to match the mood of your poem. For example, my poem below is about a knight rescuing a princess. Therefore, I chose a classic, romantic, medieval scroll design.
  2. Click on the “Animations” tab and choose how you would like your title and name to “move” onto the slide. I chose to have my title slowly appear followed by my name floating up from the bottom of the slide.
  3. Click the “Home” tab to add a New Slide for the body of your poem.
  4. Click the “Insert” tab to add text, photos, clip art, and audio onto your slide. Click the “Animations” tab to apply animations to any of these components as previously described in step 2.
  5. Double click on “Animation Pane” to review the order in which your animations will play. (NOTE: If you want the audio file to play for the entire length of your presentation, skip down to the Audio File Tips below before completing steps 6-10.)
  6. Click the “Transitions” tab and uncheck the box to Advance Slide “On Mouse Click.” If you skip this step, then your slides will not advance automatically.
  7. Click the “Slide Show” tab and preview your presentation by starting From Beginning.
  8. If the sequence and timing of all the animations play back correctly, click the “File” tab and then “Save.”

Congratulations! You can now create your very own animated poem and share it with others by playing it on your computer or e-mailing it to them as an attachment. If you e-mail it, the recipient will need PowerPoint to open and view the attachment. To bypass this potential inconvenience, follow these additional steps:

  1. Click the “File” tab and then “Save As,” which will open a new window.
  2. In the new window, click the “Save as type” drop down menu and click “Windows Media Video.”
  3. Click “Save.”

Now, you can e-mail your video as an attachment and the recipient shouldn’t encounter any problems viewing it, since most computers come equipped with a media player. Personally, I prefer to upload my videos to YouTube for three reasons.

First, by storing my videos on YouTube, I save space on my hard drive. Second, I can send a link to others that will take them directly to my videos, which eliminates the need for them to download attachments. Third, once I upload my videos to YouTube, I can then embed them into my web pages or blog posts (see below).

Now, it’s your turn to get animated. Feel free to e-mail me after you create your animated poem. I can’t wait to see it!

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Here are those Audio File Tips I promised:

  1. In the Animation Pane, click once on the audio file and move it to the top of the list by clicking the arrow at the bottom of the pane.
  2. In the next file’s drop down menu, click on “Effect Options,” which will open a new window.
  3. In the new window, click the “Timing” tab.
  4. In the Start section’s drop down menu, change “on click” to “with previous.”
  5. Lastly, determine how many seconds into the presentation you want this file’s animation to begin and enter that number in the Delay section. If you skip this step, then all of your animations will play at once.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for each file, then move on to Step 6 above.

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And if you’re interested in contributing a guest post, click here to find out how to possibly make that happen.

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Write the Life Poetic Every Day
Animating poetry is very cool, but if you want help on the writing side (from inspiration to nuts and bolts craft advice), then Sage Cohen’s Writing the Life Poetic is for you. This is one of the few poetry craft books that I always keep close at hand.

Click here to learn more.

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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

22 Responses to How to Create Animated Poetry: Guest Post by Sheila Moore

  1. Cat Ginn says:

    Gonna wake up a thread here… maybe… *kicks at sleeping thread*… Sheila? wake up… *nudge*…. :-)
    Will those directions be about the same on a Mac as a Windows machine? If they aren’t… my beautiful, wonderful, talented son…. made a wonderful thing for me… I asked him just this question a few weeks ago… how to animate a poem… and, being that he’s studying animation and compisiting at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida… he, of course, knows too… So, what did that sweet boy do? (he knew that my short term memory isn’t what it used to be)…. (do you hear a little, “The old gray mare…. playing in there?) LOL… anyway… he sat down and MADE a youtube.com video for ME… you can find him under ogias if you search him… and just look for the video he made for his mom, on how to make a video… LOL It was a very dear thing to do…
    The instructions ARE on iMovie, on a Mac… so…. if there are some new Mac, or old Mac’ers… (Apple bobbers, out there)…. it’s a step by step walk through with clicks on the screen and everything…. an up close on the computer screen… what to click… check it out…. ogias in the search box.

    I hope this wasn’t too long, Sheila… I loved your article… loved it! Thanks so much
    Cat

  2. Colette ;D says:

    Thanks Sheila! I’m so excited! I’ll email you right away. ;D

  3. Sheila Moore says:

    Just a note to say that my twitter ID is now @Sheila_Moore

  4. Sheila Moore says:

    In gratitude for contributing to this post, I would like to offer the following individuals a complimentary copy of my poetry Chapbook, Shaping Time which will be released May 1, 2011.

    Robert Lee Brewer, Daniel Ari, Collette, Rob Halpin, Eric Alder, Brian Miller, Sean Vessey, Pen, Margo Roby, and Sara McNulty.

    If you are one of the above individuals, feel free to contact me at shewriting@yahoo.com for more information.

    Thanks and happy animating,
    Sheila Moore

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  7. Sheila Moore says:

    Sara, check into Adobe Flash. Good luck and have fun.

  8. Sara McNulty says:

    Does anyone know how to do this on Mac?

  9. Sheila Moore says:

    pen, you are welcome. Have fun with it.

    Sean, You are welcome, thank you for commenting.

    Margo, Great to see you have tried it out already. Sky’s the limit!

  10. Margo Roby says:

    Sheila,

    Thank you so much for directions that a computer challenged person can follow easily. I shall enjoy playing with this. Tried it first with a short piece but will now look for a longer poem to play with.

    Margo

  11. Sean Vessey says:

    Sheila, this poetry form is amazing. Thank you for showing us How to. You are very generous to share it with us.

  12. pen says:

    Oooo! Fun. I’ve got to find time to try this!
    Thank you soooo much for sharing.

  13. Sheila Moore says:

    Awesome to hear, Brian. I cannot wait to see what you create!

  14. brian miller says:

    sheila, thank you for this…have admired your animated poems at one shot each week…now i can give it a try myself. earmarking the page so i can make my way back this weekend….

  15. Sheila Moore says:

    Rob, thanks. I think it is cool, too. I love it when I hear new ideas. Just goes to show, life is usually more exciting when we remain teachable. I am sure with your IT experience you could create some wicked poetry animation! Let me know if you give it a try.

    Eric, friend, thank you for your support. There is no need for a long poem to animate it. I only used a two-line poem in the example above. So, no more excuses…get animated! :)

  16. Sheila’s so clever!

    (Just one of the many reasons I Follow her blog)

    I’ll have to try this animation idea.

    I just need a nice, long poem – or a short song! (LOL!)

  17. Rob Halpin says:

    Cool idea! It’s funny that I work in the IT field and am on my computer all day –and most nights, but hadn’t thought of doing this.

  18. Sheila Moore says:

    Colette, You are right about technology bringing poetry to the younger generation. I never even thought about that – how wonderful!

    I agree – the art and photography and even the music, if it is the artists’ original compilations, can give people more insight into their souls. One of my animated poems posted on my YouTube channel includes my own photos.

    I currently do not play an instrument, however, so I can’t take credit for the music. Although, there is that guitar my husband bought me two years ago (because I swore I wanted to learn how to play) collecting dust in the basement…so, maybe someday.

    (Robert, sorry about the duplicate comment that my twitchy finger posted.)

  19. Sheila Moore says:

    Daniel, I checked out your prezi…how cool! It is similar to what I have seen others do with Adobe Effects, a software program I wish I could afford to buy. However, prezi might make a good substitute for this type of animation.

    Also, something I have yet to try is an animation site called goanimate.com – it appears to allow you to make cartoon animation. How fun would that be to have a cartoon character read your poem (you can even use your own voice for the audio.) thanks for commenting and for letting me know about prezi.

  20. Sheila Moore says:

    Daniel, I checked out your prezi…how cool! It is similar to what I have seen others do with Adobe Effects, a software program I wish I could afford to buy. However, prezi might make a good substitute for this type of animation.

    Also, something I have yet to try is an animation site called goanimate.com – it appears to allow you to make cartoon animation. How fun would that be to have a cartoon character read your poem (you can even use your own voice for the audio.) thanks for commenting and for letting me know about prezi.

  21. Colette ;D says:

    This is awesome and so exciting! I can see tech-poetry reaching a whole new young generation of poets. It is appealing and adds more dimensions to an already off-the-chart art. This "techno-po" is not only subliminal and liminal, but also super-liminal! If reading a poem is like reading the poet’s mind, then experiencing an animated poem is like reaching into the poet’s soul. Especially if the art and photography are also original works of the poet.

    Thanks, Sheila, for the tutorial. This makes it obvious that poetry will NEVER become a lost art!

    Daniel, I "experienced" your prezi last week when you posted it, and the interactive dimension of it expands the poem incredibly. I loved it. I hope to have time to make one soon.

    Thanks to Robert for having Sheila as a guest!

  22. Daniel Ari says:

    Great post, Shiela!

    I love the way technology has made it easy to make animated poetry, and I appreciate the tips for using PowerPoint.

    Something else to look into is prezi.com. The interface takes a little getting used to, but there are some helpful tutorials, and I had a lot of fun making a poem into an animation. Once you finish a prezi, you can distribute it as a link. Here’s one I did:

    http://prezi.com/v2f_5pgbfnxa/an-inversion/

    DA

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