Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blogging Poetry

Originally intended as a handout for those taking blogging tutorials and demos at the writing workshop but decided to a) share more widely, and b) address the why blog poetry question.

So this is more about poetry related application than blogging per se. But here's a quick overview to cover the bases.

Back to the matter at hand. What does blogging have to do with poetry? Why bother?

Poetry blogs or plogs (short for poetry blog just as blog is short for 'web log') are about poetry and poets, often but not exclusively written by poets. To wit: this one. I blog poetry but stopped writing it a quarter of a century + ago. Talk about a 10 step program with teeth.

Think of blogs as just another medium, one you may not be so familiar but that you can use for easy, free self-publishing. Blogs encompass journals, diaries, notebooks, musings, essays, poems, reading notes, images, video and music clips. The ultimate vanity press perhaps but still publishing even if online, not hard copy. They are are also easy e-zines and newsletters. A poetry blog can fill the same function as a poetry email list like Dale's TGIT & poem - with the added advantage of archiving and letting readers share comments. Not are they limited to the purely textual and, as such, are an ideal medium for experimental forms as is Linear Poetry. A tool for editing / revision. Tamra Hays has added a poetry section to the Hays Travelogue blog for new poems and tells me it helps her not just keep writing but see re-visioning. The list keeps growing.

How you blog poetry depends on purpose - why you would blog poetry and/or your thoughts about poetry (or not), what you want to accomplish, where you want it to take you.

Blogs are web 2.0, partaking of its social networking features. You can set preferences to limit viewing just to yourself (the blog as an online archive), invite just friends and poetasters colleagues or throw it open to the world. Publish just poetry or an eclectic mixture. Change your mind anytime you want. Publish just your own poetry, share favorites, or emulate Embargo Poets, which publishes English translations of “poetry from countries currently embargoed by the US, and discussion of the poets, poems, and embargoes.”

Consider collective cooperative collaborative functions. Intercapillary Space is a co-operative blog focusing primarily on current British poetry -- a group blog describing itself as “a self-editing poetry & poetics magazine with no single perspective, no single set of interests... no central editorship to impose a tone or commission particular pieces.”

Collaborating differently, as a discussion group, 9for9 is a collection of 9 questions for 9 poets and their answers:
"Some of the questions came from dreams, others from waking ideas. The project was conducted through e-mail, questions arriving in Inboxes once a week, usually on friday.

(QUESTION 1 If you were SUDDENLY the opposite sex, what name would you choose? How are your poems changed?)"
The answers are varied, thought provoking (some at any rate) and more interesting than the question.

Pedagogy: poetry shows up on teaching blogs too. This post at The Miss Rumpius Effect about poetry in the classroom - teaching not language arts but geography, science and social studies. Hmmm... wouldn't using poetry to teach geography relate to "poetry of place"? Geographical Poetry Links.

In short, what you do with it (or not) is up to you...

About poetry blogs
and some poetry blogs:
There are 1,046 Poetry Blogs in the Blog Catalog. No doubt some suck but surely not all.

Footnoting - I didn't see any poetry blogs like this one that are about a poetry event (which does not mean there aren't any) - just single posts about poetry events on poetry, library, literature and book blogs. Let me know if you come across one.

Afterthought -
Even if choose not to blog, visiting other poets' blogs introduces you to a multitude of poets and poetry you might otherwise miss

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