a markup for prose and poetry
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resources refactor Feb 20, 2016
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IDEAS.md add library goals and vision Apr 22, 2016
SPEC.md copy edits Jul 31, 2014



A markup for writing poems and stories.

Inspired by Jekyll blogs, and composed of YAML, Plaintext, or Markdown.


Thousands of poems and stories in the public domain live buried in libraries, archaic websites, and journals gone out of print. Emerging writers publish their literature online where magazines save them in content management systems, programs that strip and lock literature in complex, proprietary software. We don't have an open format to share literature on the web.

Zendown allows you to write poems and stories using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write, plain-text or markdown format, interchangeably. Scripts can convert them to a HTML5 understood by modern browsers on desktop, mobile, and web. The goal is that poems and stories should be publishable and restored as-is, as plain-text, before being consumed by content management systems.

Zendown is free software, available under a BSD-style open source license.


See SPEC.md for more details.


Markdown content can be opened in any Markdown-supported Editor.

Plaintext is supported by default in all major editors: notepad, textedit, iAWriter, MS Word, etc., However, there are two important steps:

  1. Files must be saved with an extension ".txt"
  2. Files must be saved in UTF-8 'encoding'--a setting available as options in the 'save as' file-dialog.

Saving a file in UTF-8 is a necessary, important step, to preserve foreign-language characters, accent quotes, across machines for humans to read.


The parser is implemented in Clojure.

The api, readany, can read any plaintext or markdown source from a variety of sources:

(ns my.program
	(:require [zendown.core :as zen]))

(zen/readany :resource "poem.txt")
(zen/readany :file "resources/poem.txt")
(zen/readany :url "https://s3.amazonaws.com/poetroid-public-domain/Sappho-You-May-Forget.txt")


This is a working draft.

Currently, Pendown is being used by Facjure, to restore thousands of poems and stories.


Copyright & License

Copyright © 2014-2016, Facjure, LLC

Zenup is free software, available under a BSD-style open source license. See the License page for more information.