Magnetic poetry is a set or sets of magnets where each magnet has a word or word fragment printed on it. The idea is to order the magnets on a metal surface into horizontal lines. Magnetic poetry also describes the poetry produced by arranging the magnets in a pleasing or otherwise grammatical manner.
When compared to regular poetry, magnetic poetry is the literary equivalent of B-grade movies. They often focus on cheap sexual innuendo and violence. Most practitioners are amateurs. Symptoms for viewing or creating magnetic poetry include crowding around the refrigerator, giggling maniacally and hyperventilating.
How to Become a Magnetic Poet
Purchase a set of magnetic poetry. You may need to break up one or more perforated sheets of magnets.
Place the magnets on a suitable surface.
Arrange them. If the result makes any sense to you or someone else, you can call yourself a magnetic poet.
Please refrain from comparing yourself to famous poets in polite conversation.
A basic magnetic poetry kit costs around $151 US or less. The true magnetic poetry addict will also buy additional add-on kits. There are kits for Shakespearean words, modern-day insults, and additional copies of joining words like 'and', 'the', and 'at.' There are also kits for almost every holiday, of which Valentine's Day and Halloween are the most useful. Each additional kit costs the same as the starter kit or more, and eventually the cost does adds up.
A flat metal object is also necessary to arrange the magnets on. Most people simply use their refrigerator for this purpose. It has the advantage of a very large surface area with no additional expense whatsoever. It is also possible to buy portable surfaces designed for magnetic poetry. Some are metal cases that can carry magnets both on the surface and inside the case. Others are more basic metal slates. These typically cost $20 US or less.
Also optional are various how-to books to inspire the poet, and calendars featuring pithy suggestions for seasonal poems. These are entirely optional, and most magnetic poetry fanatics don't bother with them.
Things not to Do with Magnetic Poetry
Do not use your computer, laptop, or handheld device as a surface for magnetic poetry. Computer equipment is sensitive to magnetic influences, and you run the risk of losing your information and/or breaking your equipment. At least one hapless user has exchanged their new computer because they wiped off their operating system by putting far too many magnets near their computer's hard drive.
Also, do not send your magnetic poetry to a major publishing company. Established authors wrote the few books of magnetic poetry that have been published for the sole purpose of inspiring people to join in the hobby. In fact, you will notice that most of them include a beginner's kit along with the book. Serious publishers will understandably fail to take you seriously if you send them a manila envelope containing a metal slate and hundreds of misaligned magnets.
For pet owners, do not put your magnetic poetry in a location where your pet can readily reach the magnets. Cats, in particular, enjoy batting the tiny magnets around. This is especially dangerous since the magnets are small enough for most household pets to swallow, possibly causing them to choke and die. If this does happen, you'll need to know how to perform artificial respiration and/or CPR on your cat. Also, nothing is more depressing than learning, during a bout of spring-cleaning, that not only has your cat created a poem under your sofa, but it's better than any of yours.