I minted my first NFT poetry collection, Lyrics Liberated, not long ago on the Polygon network using my own code to deploy a custom smart contract. It has since debuted on OpenSea. The collection’s beautiful artwork was done by Maestro, a good friend of mine, using an AI algorithm that mixed the styles of two separate images. The final image turns out to be lusher than either of the originals.
The poems began in the depths of the pandemic lockdowns. Though I’ve never been a man of routine, I somehow fell into one as the lockdown progressed. Staying put allowed me the time to focus on some of the projects I’d never had time for. This included writing poetry. Every morning, I took a small amount of time to write whatever I felt like writing. Sometimes it was a long poem, sometimes it was a short one.
I began to realize that the relative monotony of the days gave me a kind of emotional energy I had not felt before. Sometimes it seemed like thoughts and feelings stayed with me for an entire day. Sometimes they stayed for an entire week. I channeled that energy into my poems. I’d collect abstract thoughts which only seemed appropriate to express in verse. Other times I’d get vivid fixations on small details which were merely passing glances previously.
That one was inspired by a relationship which wasn’t going so well. There weren’t many places to escape the bad feelings I was receiving from it. It began smothering me. At one point I didn’t have the energy to do anything except stare into the plume of steam rising from the tea I had made myself. Yet suddenly I noticed how intricate the plume was. I’ve been fascinated by steam ever since I was young. I watched pots on the stove emit tendrils, and I loved the way they twist and curl so chaotically before disappearing into the ether.
I’d originally published my poems from my account on Hello Poetry. That was the first creative outlet I posted my work on, and it was an inspiring community. People would discover, like, and comment on my work, and there was a front page where trending poems could catch fire and rise to the top. It was a small but prolific poetic social media community.
I’d gotten into crypto trading, and that took me down the rabbit hole into NFTs. I’ve always liked new experimental technologies and ideas. NFTs are a fascinating new way to bring art into the 21st century.
Through the collaboration with Maestro, I was able to turn the poems into a visual work of art worthy of the blockchain. I had a release plan figured out. I’d planned to launch them directly from OpenSea in the Ethereum network. However, on launch day a snag hit. The gas fee for approving OpenSea transactions on my wallet came out to be $200! Well, I wasn’t going to pay that much just to get started. I searched around for other options.
Turns out, the Polygon network is a great alternative. The transactions on Polygon cost mere cents. All smart contract libraries and Solidity code works the exact same way on Polygon as on Ethereum – hence why Polygon is considered a Layer 2 scaling solution of Ethereum. It inherits the benefits of the Ethereum foundation while at the same time making it much faster and more cost effective.
I minted the poems onto my own custom ERC721 NFT smart contract. I realized minting onto my own smart contract makes these poems more valuable than minting with OpenSea. If you mint with OpenSea, your poetry gets minted onto the OpenSea minting contract, which also contains thousands of other whatever NFT articles people want to make. Not so special. On this contract, there can only exist the 10 poems in this collection. Nothing else is allowed. Check out the contract on Polygonscan.
The poem text is also minted directly on chain. On chain minting means that the NFT token itself contains a copy of the poem text. See, the poem’s png image doesn’t actually live on the Polygon blockchain. The image lives on IPFS, a decentralized file storage system. That’s how NFTs are typically set up – the NFT token is minted on a smart contract blockchain, and contains a link to its corresponding image or media file on IPFS or other decentralized file storage. However, because I minted the text of these poems on chain, the base NFT token contains a method which, if queried on the Polygon network, returns a string of the poem text. You can verify this aspect for yourself by querying the smart contract here under “read contract.” If you collect these poems, the words will always be verifiable yours to own.