Essay

Just Get the Poems Out There

How one writer found her home among the poet bloggers.

by Shanna Compton
Do you remember Before the Web? I do. Barely.

I'm pretty sure I first encountered the word blog in 1998, flipping through an issue of Wired, which I wouldn’t have been reading at all except that a few months earlier I’d received a complimentary subscription with the purchase of my (adorable! Internet ready! email-capable!) Bondi Blue iMac.

Toward the back of the issue, in a diminutive sidebar, ran a brief definition of the “weblog, or blog” and a list of sites next to summaries of their (very narrowly focused, mostly technological) content. To quote a recent blog post by Bruce Sterling, “the original online practice of Jorn Barger style ‘web-logs’ [was] logging one’s web-surfing for the edification of others.” Honestly, I didn’t get it.

I’d been thinking about publishing something online, though. My new iMac came with GoLive CyberStudio (a WYSIWYG web design application) in its software bundle, and my ISP happened to offer some free server space with my dial-up contract. Suddenly I found myself with everything I needed to build a personal website. Cool. But what should I put on it? Some of my freelance work? Nah. Poems? The handful of print journals I’d appeared in had each arrived on the newsstand or bookstore shelf with a meager fwipple, then promptly vanished, like a half-stifled sneeze.

I put up my few previously published poems and figured I’d just add more as they appeared in print. Too slow. (No patience. Hate waiting.) I started writing short essay-reviews I called “enthusiasms” just to have something else to post. After creating each page in GoLive, I uploaded it patiently over my dial-up connection. In college I’d run a lit zine and produced a couple of DIY chapbooks, but designing a website was an entirely new challenge. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was addictively fun. Unlike producing zines or chapbooks, the coolest part was that it required no tedious (and expensive) duplicating, no trips to the post office. No begging stores to carry it on consignment. No falling out of print, or damaged or stolen copies. And anybody, anywhere, with an Internet connection could read it.

In theory. Nobody was reading mine. But that wasn't the point, then. I’d made a simple space to archive poems, post informal essays, and stake a claim as a poet (since I didn’t yet have a book or other “proof”) by planting a little flag on the World Wide Web. I wasn't yet thinking about what it meant to put myself and my writing out there, online, and I certainly wasn't thinking about making the site my main publishing outlet. I was too distracted by the learning curve and the series of steps each page took to design, debug, and upload.

Around the same time, newspapers were moving online, as were wire services such as AP and Reuters. Salon and Bold Type were two of the earliest web publications I read regularly, a requirement of my job at a major trade publisher. As news, entertainment, and retail sites (and don’t forget the porn pioneers) proliferated, a few wacky prognosticators predicted the death of the print culture in the not-too-distant future. Is it all coming back to you now?

Journal and magazine editors teamed up with designers to supplement and sometimes supplant their print periodicals with web counterparts, no doubt attracted to the same economic and distribution benefits that had first excited DIY-me. First there were a few, and then there were hundreds of fresh and free sites to read every day on my lunch breaks—conveniently located right there on my desk.

Later came Blogger—and Greymatter and Movable Type and LiveJournal and WordPress and the rest. I don’t know in what order. More and more people were getting connected, and the connections were faster. Tappity tap-click click-refresh: publishing online became extremely user-friendly.

OK, we’re all caught up.

***


The first poetry blogger I ever read till my eyes swam was Ron Silliman. I knew him rather vaguely as the critic behind The New Sentence and the editor of the major anthology In the American Tree, despite his having published nearly 30 books of poems. By the time I found his blogspot in 2003, Silliman had been posting for almost a year. Picture me instantly hooked, not so much by Silliman himself as by the concept: a poet writing about poetry, in a personal, erudite but not necessarily scholarly manner, on pretty much a daily basis. I went back and read the year’s worth of archives, including his debut post from August 29, 2002 (which strikes me as funny now, given how popular his blog has become):

Blogs have been around for awhile now, but to date I haven’t seen a genuinely good one devoted to contemporary poetry, so it may prove that there is no audience for such an endeavor. But this project isn’t about audience. The fact that the blog has the potential to carry forward the best elements of a journal and seems inherently prone to digressive, if not absolutely plotless, prose gives me hope that this form might prove amenable to critical thinking.


Perhaps Silliman was one of the earliest adopters thanks to his familiarity with the computer industry, where he happens to work as a market analyst. He wasn’t the only one inspired by the possibilities of the rapidly evolving medium. The same month I bookmarked his eponymous URL, Silliman posted his first blogroll—a list of several dozen other poetry-focused bloggers. I’d never heard of most of them, even the handful who lived in Brooklyn, practically in my backyard. I clicked them all.

Totally thrilling. Within the month I was thinking, damn it. Could I have skipped my MFA program (which I’d delayed for years after my BA, unsure and wary) if the blogs had arrived sooner? (I was already working as a writer and had no plans to teach.) On these emerging blogs, as well as on e-mail lists and forums, I’d finally found what I’d been looking for working in publishing, hanging around at readings, and going to grad school: other poets. Not famous ones, elder ones, teaching ones, laureate ones, or the ones with books from Knopf stocked at Barnes & Noble. The other ones. Ones like me.

***


Whatever subset of POET you’re looking for, the Internet’s got them. Like the mimeograph and the photocopier in their day, blogging software and hosting services allow anybody to hang out a shingle and start publishing—without buying apps or renting server space, without registering a domain, and without knowing how to code a single tag. The key word there is anybody. Academic credentials are optional, no pitching articles to editors, no need to have three books out and another on the way. Fast, cheap-to-free, low tech-threshold publishing quickly has become as simple and ubiquitous as e-mail, and much more effective, in practical terms, than a letter to the editor when it comes to telling William Logan what you think of his latest review.

Which is to say, along with changing the speed and focus of aesthetic debates, blogs have also changed the participants. Reb Livingston, publisher of No Tell Books and the online journal No Tell Motel, agrees. She’s pleased to see outsiders infiltrate:

Poets who were never in the center (often these were women, but not limited to women), who weren’t getting attention, are now getting attention and readers—often more than the so-called mainstreamers. The old way of getting an MFA, winning a contest, publishing with university presses, and getting a job teaching has been shown not to be a particularly good measure of anything—if anything, the many flaws and shortcomings [of that older route] have been exposed.


Poets have hacked the template—both literally, as they edited the HTML behind their blogs, and figuratively, creating alternatives to once-dominant modes and traditional publishing platforms. Frustrated that the established systems weren’t as user-friendly as they’d like, they’ve approached poetry publishing and poetic discourse in the manner of open-source programmers, improvising workarounds and frankensteining new hybrids.

Systemically and technically, there’s not much left to prevent any American poet from pronouncing, announcing, and renouncing whatever she likes from her own online soapbox, distribution included. She writes it, she posts it, she links it, and it’s instantly available online, crawled by search engine bots, archived by the Wayback Machine. That’s some reach, when you think about it.

***


I love listening to poets think aloud on their blogs. Watching them wrestle with a manuscript in real time. Being surprised at how hard they are on themselves—or sometimes too easy. Reading over their shoulders as they get good news and bad news about their submissions, fellowships, and teaching jobs. I like to know what they’re reading and what they’re having for breakfast, what their lovers look like, what they saw on their commute, and where they go on vacation. I’m even fond of their children. But what most engrosses me are the more disputatious conversations, I’ll admit it. I’m not talking about blogwars or exercises in flaming. (File those under Personality, not Poetry.) I mean those times when poets really engage, discuss, argue, propose, question, or plead.

These debates are truly new, if not always in substance then in accessibility. Certainly poets have discussed poetics, aesthetics, and who’s pathetic forever. But the exchanges were necessarily more intimate—we weren’t there to hear them. We had to wait for poets to polish their opinions for print mags or books, or to die so their correspondence or biographies could finally be released. Lucky us—every day in the poetry blogosphere, we can find any number of useful, thought-provoking posts on poetry. (See below for a few recent highlights.)

Online magazines and print/web hybrids are getting in on the act as well, using blogs and comment features to fill in the gaps between issues, keep content fresher, and encourage reader feedback. The concept of the literary journal has undergone some pretty radical mods in the last 10 years, not only in content—such as podcasts and other audio features, animation and visual poetries, and YouTubed performances—but also in terms of scheduling frequency: biweeklies, weeklies, dailies, guest-hosted carnivals, and so on. These experimental formats are more responsive and interactive than their old-school print counterparts, and they’re working in tandem with the chatter of the blogs and each other to push the boundaries of aesthetic debates and critical inquiries.

***


I love these ripples. I love watching the ideas develop and the attitudes change and the positions soften or harden over time. Unlike the buzz my colleagues and I stirred up from the phones at the big publishing house where I used to work, the blogosphere’s trends aren’t manufactured. The debates may be deliberately entered, but they’re not staged. When poets grapple with each other or themselves online, they’re invested in their own opinions about the art they practice, not company profitability. They don’t hold strategy meetings beforehand, deciding which trends to fluff and flatter in which season. (What? You didn’t realize that the magazines running the book features which big-house publicists are “following up on” are sometimes owned by the same Humongous Media Conglomerate as the press itself? Or that their companies pay thousands in ad revenues to the most prominent review outlets?) In this way, the poetry blogs can be seen to function a little like the political blogs, watchdogging and correcting the larger, more official, and more mainstream outlets.

Eileen Tabios, publisher of Meritage Press and editor/publisher of the review Galatea Resurrects, finds the openness, spontaneity, and relative accessibility of blogs and online journals to be corrective:

One of the healthiest elements about poetry blogging is how poetry blogland more accurately mirrors the nature of Poetry than has traditional canon-making poetic machinery. There have always been more poets and poems than those marble-ized in Norton anthologies, “best of” anthologies, et al. . . . There is no center—or there are many centers—in poetry.


Exactly.

***


Lest you think I’m some kind of starry-eyed idealist, lemme be clear. Blogging definitely has its drawbacks and dangers—from minor annoyances to more serious concerns about addiction and abuse, complicated by the disinhibiting effects of virtual anonymity, among other things. The vulnerability inherent in blogging can occasionally be as excruciating as it is generally fulfilling. Saying what you think can be intensely embarrassing. It can also tick people off. But none of that is unique to poetry’s corner of the blogosphere, and these same vulnerabilities are what makes the medium so compelling for its audience too.

Even when tempers flare, the results can be transformative. As Danielle Pafunda points out,

. . . it’s in these moments of greatest discord that we find a discourse’s Achilles’ heel. It stands to reason that if we want to change the dominant literary discourse, then we’d better develop and practice new models. One way to do this is to exploit what might be conventionally considered failures to communicate. We agree to disagree, and acknowledge that individual parties are committed to the same goals for different reasons. We identify the areas in which consensus is most necessary, and leave other bramble bushes as they are.


Like Pafunda, I think of the poetry blogosphere as a collective effort, one that may fail over here but succeed over there. It’s a social sphere and cooperative artistic enterprise that’s as rewarding and challenging as a collaboration of any other kind.

There’s been plenty of complaining that all the noise is too much, that there’s already too much to pay attention to and procrastinate over. Don’t we have anything better to do? Shouldn’t we be writing poems? I don’t completely disagree. It’s easy to overdo it, and difficult sometimes to find the right filter, maintain enough distance. But I have to laugh at the absurdity: detractors using their own poetry blogs to complain about poetry blogs. Between poems, I plan to keep reading.

Recent Highlights from the Blogosphere

• Readers, contributors, and the editor discuss questions of ethnicity, aesthetics, and publishing strategies in response to a themed issue of an online journal. Link.

•Editors reveal what goes on behind the scenes—what’s in their slush piles, what makes a great anthology, the difficulties of rejections, and the various abuses they take from frustrated writers. Link 1. Link 2. Link 3. Link 4.

• Poets talk to each other about process, inspirations, peeves, putting a first book out, or the sociopolitical role of the poet. Link 1. Link 2. Link 3.

• Poets plan an alternative to the annual AWP conference, picking each other’s brains about ways to secure funding, provide child care and housing, and keep everything focused and affordable. Link.

• A poet responds to a review of his own work and draws the critic into a longer, two-way conversation. Link 1. Link 2.


Illustrations by Marianne Goldin.
Originally Published: May 10, 2007

COMMENTS (49)

On May 11, 2007 at 10:40am Jennifer Bartlett wrote:
On another discussion you missed mentioning

was between my blog, saintelizabethstreet and

Veronica at seriously squared in December

regarding women poets.

I also see an upside and downside to the blog

world. My tiny blog has helped me connect with

the world in a new way. It has given me an

immediate forum for my ideas and writing.

I,too, was inspired by Silliman, although,

ironically, I think I am the only American poet

with a blog who he hasn't added to his role. I

think I have lost readers and gained readers

by being unable to stick to just poetry, as my

blog goes in different directions toward

parenthood, disability, and so on.

On the negetive side, my father, the poet,

criticical, and archivist really does not like

blogs or the internet (or email). I shouldn't

really speak for him, but I think it makes him

uncomfortable that there is no paper record.

Things on the internet can just vanish. The art

of letter writing is dying. Words and grammar

in blogs are often misused. I think the laziness

that sometimes occurs in blogs works toward

the distruction of the written language where

text messaging is the norm. I, too, make

mistakes, but I have to admit that I am pretty

put off when I get emails or read blogs from

smart people who do not use capital letters and

have gross misspellings. (Again, I'm not

perfect).

Finally, an environment in which anyone can

say anything has both a good side and bad

side. While it makes the playing field more

level (which is fair), there is no longer a litmus

test for who is really studied.

On May 12, 2007 at 10:07pm Nick Carbo wrote:
Fascinating article Shanna (rhymes w/ banana).

Curious to know how many poet bloggers have

actually published poems in POETRY? With all this

de-centralization, should poet bloggers even care

to have their poems appear in POETRY?

On May 13, 2007 at 7:44am shanna compton wrote:
hmm, i left a comment for jennifer, twice, but

it's not getting through somehow.

in case this one does: thank you for your

comments jennifer. i think your blog is a

perfect example of how magazine editors can

use blogs to fill gaps between issues, and

discuss magazine-related things. but i like

yours particularly because it's a mix of your

editorial and personal experiences, including

your perspectives on motherhood and being a

writer and educator with a disability. (eye-

opening!)

[jennifer blogs here: http://

saintelizabethstreet.blogspot.com . see the

december archives for her posts on the

women's political panel, referenced in her

comment above.]

--

hi nick,

hmm, i wouldn't know how many. as to

whether bloggers should want to appear in the

magazine, i'd say it depends on the poetry

blogger? *poetry* does have a certain

aesthetic slant and cultural mission, right?,

which i think anyone who reads it could easily

discern. i don't think my poems (just for

instance) would necessarily fit there, so it

doesn't really bother me that mr. wiman et al

probably would not want them. (i haven't sent

anything for at least 10 years, just like i

haven't sent to ploughshares or the paris

review or etc.). while some poets like to argue

about camps and us/them binaries, i think a

little self-sorting is natural and doesn't

necessarily need to be so contentious. (think of

kids in high school: one of the ways they

identify themselves is by the type of music

they listen to. while the "ropers" and the

"dopers" may occasionally fight behind the

mall, they generally get along fine and

sometimes even date each other.) i realize that

some arguments would go from aesthetics/

cultural mission to MONEY and RESOURCES,

but i'm not gonna at the moment. (yes, i was

paid to write my essay!)

there are so many poetry bloggers, with so

many different aesthetic leanings, i'm sure

there's some overlap somewhere. i recognize

stephen burt and ange mlinko as poetry

bloggers (well, ange's closed her blog but it

was one of my favorites for a long time) from

recent issues.

also, it might be enlightening to realize this

website has a different set of editors than the

magazine.

On May 13, 2007 at 12:38pm Brian A. J. Salchert wrote:
Thank you, Shanna. A link on Silliman's Blog

brought me here. I am 66. I have a fairly new

journal on which I am posting poems I have

recently written and others written years ago.

I am also engaging in literary and other

conversations and am reading a lot, both

online and offline. I understand the loneliness

and the addictiveness; but being alone is an

aspect of the human condition, and there are

definitely worse addictions.

On May 14, 2007 at 8:51am shanna wrote:
yes, brian, you've made a good point. not sure

where you are, but geographic isolation from

poetry's traditional main hubs is one thing i

didn't quite get to in the essay, but i think the

blogs are helping poets who might not

otherwise find many local peers do so online.

and they're doing the same for socially shy

writers too, who have an easier time

communicating in writing than in person. those

are the positive flipsides to the blog-stalking/

anonycreep blights. the internet's effect of

disinhibition doesn't always result nastiness,

thank goodness!

[for anyone who is interested, brian's journal is

here: http://journals.aol.com/thinkinglizard/

bajs/ ]

On May 14, 2007 at 9:38am Louise Haddad wrote:
I get information about a person, likes, dislikes, something funny, whatever. Then for special occasions, like weddings, retirements, graduations, birthdays, whatever, I write a personalized poem specifically for that person. Would I be able to sell such a service on Google? Would I have to get a website? I would do it on cards or laminated fancy paper. Then mail it to the recepient and get paid by pay pal. Does this sound like it would work?

On May 14, 2007 at 5:26pm shanna wrote:
hi louise,

Blogger is part of Google, and you could easily

make a free website for your personalized

poetry service. It's free. Check it out here:

http://www.blogger.com

Just putting the website up by itself might not

draw many visitors. I would advise including a

detailed description of what you do, with

examples of your previous work, photos if

available, contact information for questions,

etc. Then linking your blog to other poetry-

related sites.

In your description, include key words that

might result in visitors finding you in a Google

search. "Custom Poems, Personalized Poems,

Poet for Hire, Poems for Weddings (that will get

hits), Poems for Birthdays," etc.

Google will list the blog in its database and

anybody searching

On May 14, 2007 at 5:30pm shanna wrote:
[Oops my comment was cut off.]

...anybody searching for those key phrases would

be shown your site among the Google results.

There are no guarantees that having a blog will

result in poem-sales (why's that phrase so funny

to me?), and building an audience takes a while.

But since Blogger is free, it certainly can't hurt.

You'd also then have a website address to add to

your email correspondence or to show potential

customers.

On May 16, 2007 at 10:06am Ikechukwu wrote:
I Care

I’m sending this to let you know

I think of you each day,

And pray for your recovery,

Hoping soon you’ll be okay.

You’re going through a lot right now;

You’re treatments can be trying;

Remember while you do them

It’s your problem you’re defying.

Hold on to your positive attitude,

And when things get hard to bear,

Know that I am here for you;

Remember that I care.

And when you’re well and flourishing,

Look back and realize,

You learned what you were made of;

That’s a reward that satisfies!

I believe in you; You can do it!

On May 18, 2007 at 1:11am Don Crabtree wrote:
Great article! Have you ever seen this blog?

http://suicidefood.blogspot.com/

On May 18, 2007 at 9:05am Heather Flagg wrote:
Why do I hurt inside? 5/18/07

Somedays I just don't understand the feelings going through me.They seem to attack my heart. I can picture my heart in a heap on the inside of my self. As ready to give up as I am. I don't get why I feel these strong emotions, but i am unwilling to ask, for fear of being labled again with one of the nasty diagnosis. I have been labled with all sorts of different things. Things that write out for people to read, feelings that supposidly make me who I am. no one will try to see beyond the lines and look inside the girl who I have become. I try to ignore them and act as if they will not effect me, but it seems that the peolpe who matter the most in my life are the ones who are reading these lables that may have only been true years ago. Don't i deserve that right to take credit for the things i have changed about myself and in my life. Am I absent of the oppertunity to try again when I fail? if everyone was given only one oppertunity to fix that in which they have failed at, then the lesson in life would be to never try in case you fail. But that is not the lesson we try to teach her in this realistic world. Its to get back up no matter what. But people including I who are feeling as though they are fighting against the impossible, are then led to believe fighting is usless. And are left with what to work with. Are left with these feelings in which we cannot explain. i ask now why it hurts, why can't i just be sad, or angry? Why do these feelings push at my chest and make my heart race. Why does missing the things i use to know hurt so much? I want so badly to believe that the things i have left in the hands of those higher then me are going to be ok, but I cannot. I worry about my future, and worry that I will be left and drawn to a life that I am not satisfied with.

By Heather Anne Flagg

On May 19, 2007 at 1:47pm Matt Walker wrote:
Great article. It reminds me of what Marianne

Moore had to say about blogs in her poem,

"Blogosphere":

"I, too, dislike it: there are things that are

important beyond / all this fiddle. / Reading it,

however, with a perfect contempt for it, one /

discovers in / it after all, a place for the genuine.

Go Dodgers!"

On May 21, 2007 at 11:22am Robert A Meacham wrote:
I have always written stuff. Poems, short stories and yes, even a print on demand novel. I always come back to poetry because I feel at home there. Sure, I write on different web sites and get the sappy reviews but what I want is growth for my work- Here is an example:

In From the Sea

Looking Nore catching land's vest

The Captain yells, “Stations men!?

Abruptly the scurry commences

Home is in sight though little she lay.

Tide's fight and swallowing swells

Upon the freighter rang Captain’s bell

To summon all strength to and fro

Steering to home, onward go.

Relentless waves slashing at bow

Tugging to tear the direction into

Violently tossing matchstick men

Bruising and cutting every brow.

Belching thunder roars in cadence

with crashing lightening hurling downward.

Rain beats the weary faces and

bleeds the eyes of tired bodied men.

Onward, steady, hold firm the path

Persistent victory over ocean's wrath.

Awaiting men are hearts left ashore,

Pining for their return just as afore.

Morning bird aloft on tireless wings

Escorts to port a welcoming ring

Ahoy there land of our dreams

we've been gone forever it seems.

I have set up a site and that seems to get my work out to some degree but impatient me wants a stornger voice. Any hope?

Best regards,

Robert A Meacham

http://freewebs.com/robertaustin

On May 21, 2007 at 11:25am Robert A Meacham wrote:
Missing You

Remember when we use to skip rocks

across the white capped bay?

Remember a time you didn’t live so far away?

I think I shall skip my heart

across the ocean’s crest.

And when you receive it,

Please open your arms and place it

upon your chest.

Missing you.

Just another jotting exercise.

On May 25, 2007 at 10:51am Ryan Vine wrote:
Isn't there anybody out there who feels the slightest resistance to this movement? Being so intensely interested in the lives of these poets seems to find its roots in our culture of celebrity worship. I could care less what Gabe Gudding had for breakfast. I do, however, like some of his poems. And I should hope I'd be able to tell whether or not he'd been too easy or too hard on himself by the final draft, the publishable draft.

On May 25, 2007 at 11:19am I'm wearing a mask wrote:
Hey Ryan Vine--Two words: Jim Behrle.

On May 25, 2007 at 12:48pm Ryan Vine wrote:
Yeah, I hear you. But then again, he does have a couple of blogs, doesn't he? I mean, sure, one could say it's all satirical, but he's still bitching about blogging on his blog.

On May 25, 2007 at 1:01pm Bill Knott wrote:
. . . po-blogs that print opinions are great, beginning with Silliman's omnipotent exemplar . . .

i'm using my blog to publish all the poetry i've written in the last 47 years, or almost all . . . i got

tired of being a dead tree poet . . .

On May 28, 2007 at 3:36pm shanna wrote:
Well, Ryan, that's not what I meant when I said

I was interested in poets' lives as reflected

through their blogs (which is really just a minor

remark near the end of the piece, unconnected

to the thesis: blogs are changing poetry

publishing).

I suppose everybody has their own set of

reasons for coming to the blogs (either as

blogger or reader), but in my case (as I

thought I clearly said), I came to the poetry

blogs for a few different reasons. One, I was

looking for poetry (both poems and opinion/

criticism), secondly I wanted a place/way to

publish my own poems and opinions, and third,

as a kind of unexpected bonus, I found a social

sphere. I have made several good friends

through blogging, and talking with them is

inspiring and productive, prompting

collaborations and various projects. These are

people that I might not otherwise know.

Just like with anything, bloggers or blog-

readers can and do approach the activity in

different ways and with different goals. I have

enjoyed the blogs as a way/place to simply feel

engaged with poetry and poets on a regular

basis, something I was missing before, except

when in grad school. Probably there are some

poets who aren't interested in other poets, or

even other poets' work. I'm just not one of

them.

The poems are (always) more important than

the poets, but, just as reading the collected

letters or memoirs or a biography or even a

scholarly study of a poet can shed light on the

poems, sometimes the blogs do for me too.

Sometimes I am simply curious to know more

about the person who wrote a book I really

loved, etc. The best thing about the blogs, as I

said, is not *who* is speaking but *that* they

are, and that they're talking about what they're

reading, etc. What I should have more clearly

stated is that I find the lives of other poets,

their normal lives and usual conflicts/doubts/

ambitions *comforting* because I recognize

my own experience in theirs, or learn from

theirs when it differs from mine. (Then again, I

am curious about *most* people, particularly

anybody making art. I am interested in how a

person makes art, which is more than just

being interested in the art.)

I certainly don't view most of the bloggers I

read as celebrities. Does anyone read poetry

blogs this way, really? Seems like a funny idea

to me, and a low-return activity. I can't

imagine anybody titilated by, say, People

Magazine, being engrossed in the poetry blogs

in the same way. I suppose it's possible.

On June 8, 2007 at 3:20pm Jack Wiler wrote:
Shanna, I liked a lot of what you had to say

though I'm not certain blogs are anymore a

salvation than MFA's were in their time or writing

groups or anything else. They are however nice

places for poets to think and talk and read about

their work instead of writing poetry.

I know I use my blog for that. Plus it frees my

brain up from that stuff that's clogging my head

so it comes more readily into verse.

Good to see and read this.

On June 14, 2007 at 1:56pm Britt Fleming wrote:
This is all very interesting. I'm curious to hear what you think of this project: http://www.northography.com/

It's not a blog. It's not a workshop. It's not a publication. It's not a personal website. It is a regional literary website that uses prompts (stimuli) to provide impetus to creativity. It also allows creative writers (mostly poets) to interact with each other. We've been doing this for over a year with great success.

On July 9, 2007 at 3:45pm Cassy Coleman wrote:
this one was originally named THE PLAYEr

because at the time i wrote it

about a guy who pretended to like me

for one "thing" and it worked his name is

Anthony Master and i lost my virginity to him

well here it is

THE CORNER

I stand in a corner

I wanna know your name

live my life in shadiws

hang my head in shame

I'm standing in a corner

and our eyes seem to meet

the glimmer in your eyes

lift me off my feet

I've moved from the corner

and I'm standing in the light

but when I see you

I move back in fright

I stand in a corner

once agian

I opened up

but you wouldn't let me in

On July 9, 2007 at 3:48pm cassy coleman wrote:
http://cassyscloset.blogspot.com/

i am cassy i wrote the

last comment put up

view my blogspot

On July 12, 2007 at 9:16pm Stephany Fuller wrote:
I have two poems that need
some evaluation before I attempt
to start publishing, if anyone is
interesting in reading them, please
send me an e-mail:
mouthful--of.lies@hotmail.com
Thanks,
Stephany

On September 12, 2007 at 2:25pm lindsey wright wrote:
hi i write poetry and would love someone to publish them for me ive been told that they are very good but i am not sure where and how to go about getting them published so if anyone good help me them please email me thanks

On October 15, 2007 at 7:09pm Grace wrote:
Hello, I'm really just a kid but I'm going to be an author one day.Here is one of my poems:

~A Call for Fall~

Stones of alabaster,

Leaves of crispy plaster,

All around me falling,

Can't you hear me calling?

Do you like it?I know, it's not very long.

On November 14, 2007 at 1:50pm Petrov wrote:
it is great!

On November 24, 2007 at 5:21pm sophie klahr wrote:
For any poet/writer/person who is

most comfortable communicating

through the written word, the potential

connections offered by the online

world are invaluable.

I keep a number of online personas/

homes, ranging from the mundane

personal to the personal poetic to the

solely artistic. Through these, I've

been able to make connections in the

physical world that were previously

unimaginable. The most recent

example: poems and photographs of

mine from

http://portraitofayear.livejournal.com/

are now appearing in an exhibition

called The Blogger Show, which marks

the first time my artwork has been

shown in the physical.

and another home:

http://thestoryofhow.blogspot.com/

thanks for your article, for noting the

possibilities..

On December 2, 2007 at 3:51am shuhena wrote:
how do u put a poem on da internet bout natuer

On December 18, 2007 at 12:37pm Jodey wrote:
Heather Anne Flagg... Richid,

I guess what gets me the most... is that no matter how long it's been I end up running into your name some where or another. Haha... I just can't get past you, my secret keeper from long long long ago :-) I wish that I could see you again, here, or at swing-swing... or riding Cherry through the fields! But we don't get that way of life so easily anymore. It is now more than tryin to get to your window without wakin the dogs... or setting off the lights... it is KNOWING where your window is. Haha, I guess this is how we were doomed from the start- to always know that somebody out there realizes that individuality.. those feelings and thoughts inside of themselves... are so much more than what people label truth- simple truth. Having said that, I feel that I should confess to you. Things we said to each other weren't always truths- they were just things. I know that I lied... I always do. But it was more than what we said that counted; it was the experiences we shared and the way we managed to find things to occupy us- to keep us from concentrating too much on the inevitable. I can't tell you how sad i was when you left- or how sad I am now to know that you arn't here with me... I guess most of all- now being at the age to face my future- I miss the idea of Delaware... and you, and Hound... and just... writing and knowing your character, facing everyday knowing that you are safe and maybe not content... but there. I feel through thought now, more than ever. It is as though there is nothing inside of me- and I would give anything in the world to take my share of what has built up inside of you, no matter what it is or how strong it is, I'd do my best to relieve some of the struggle at least. I'm always here... Know that and keep it with you.

Missing you forever,

Jodey

On January 17, 2008 at 4:53am Satyam Sahdev wrote:
I m a citizen of India. I live in India and do write a lot of Poetry. I am just looking for a right medium to give it online. I do intend to earn some money out of it. Will you please let me know,how should i start the whole process. After hearing from you,i will send you some of my poetry. Kindly do let me know.

On January 26, 2008 at 9:30am Soddy wrote:
The Call Of Catastrophe

Sarcasm has a side in reality,

With a rebel in his blood,

He is found guilty.

Committing a sin,

By nurturing an evil grin.

He shouts his voice loud,

When only peace that matters,

It’s too heavy to be found.

With his barrel he roars,

It’s a cause of vindication,

The blood in his pain pours.

The sound so distant,

It unleashes the bars,

It’s the call of catastrophe

In the name of war.

Power seeks the blood of kings,

With the roll of cannons,

A blasphemous joy it brings.

The cause of peace remains hidden,

It’s a holy apple,

Which is highly forbidden.

The cause is diplomacy,

That’s the misanthrope’s label,

Like an untold tale,

Which sounds like a fable.

Killing the hope ,

A king becomes The Tsar.

Burying the sorrows,

When catastrophe becomes war.

It’s the time,

When the rebel strikes back,

Is he still fighting for peace,

The question now colours grey to black

Now the rainbow of souls

Descends on earth,

The gloom with magnity,

The life is at dearth.

To find the reason,

The rebel gets stressed,

As the cry is for justice,

With sadism surfaced.

Still these thoughts remain untrue,

It’s the hands of power,

Surviving to construe.

Finally the peace becomes the mar.

It’s just the call of catastrophe,

Blessed in the name of war.

This is my new poetry ...plz give me a kind feed back

On February 10, 2008 at 7:51am STACEY wrote:
I have always enjoyed reading and writing poetry, but stopped due to circumstances plus having little time as both my children have medical conditons but now have set up a blog on some of my poems, This is all very new to me and was wondering if at all you could give me some advice and your thoughts on my poems, to me it is a hobbie but I would still like to share them, some are fun some serious and some from the heart.

my blog address is

http://poetry-by-stacey.blogspot.com.

On April 1, 2008 at 2:03pm Rex Cox wrote:
"Very interesting..."

Just a bit of a quote from Artie Johnson, of the ancient TV show called, "Laugh-in"...of course, it doesn't have the same effect if you don't say it in your head with a German accent.

Lyricist-Rex...blogspot.com

On April 5, 2008 at 4:01am Steve wrote:
Hi Shanna-na. I loved your article so I must love you. Cyber love. Cyber poetry. You are a gourmet bowl of savory flavors and complex expressions. Boldly proclaiming self need, directing the alphebet soup of this desparate screaming momentary freedom forum of electrical pseudo-human big banging shout-outs to fill your valley oh-princess my-princess.

Then look, if you are living and dare, at all the shit that follows.

Blogger Poetry is the Special Ed kid on his/her/your First day: "Is this the world of poetry orgasms?" cried Alice.

Yes Shanna, you can be promoted from typist-driver of the Yellow Poetry Bus to Garbage truck driver seeking to pick-up the Back Street Boys singing, "Desperately Seeking Punetry." Yet awaking untilled, unfilled, artistically defussioned, listening to Kathy Hieronymus sing, Monday morning, still virgin?, finger probing music. On your way to a pot hole smoking adventures, you will inadvertently smack into insistantly standing still, cans of garbage, posing as statues of self effacing fishermen by the side of the electrical current. Experienced with the English sea where poetry babes are so easily spread on whole wheat bread like wide mouth bass so eager. Lost in the search, yet moving a little, sometimes, not so desparately drowning as powerfully swimming where the fishermen are too self important, strong, loud, lazy, to be quiet and see her. So then, to me, it seems sometimes, she is worth actually talking to. Before and after. Of course, I am too old for Afghanistan!

On August 26, 2008 at 12:01pm Kyla wrote:
Heyy im just a kid but im hoping to be a witter and I want to see what people think of my poems other then my friends so please send some feedback

In the rain

I walk outside to cry in the rain.

Let it wash away my sorrow.

Let it kill my pain

My tears fall downward onto the ground.

Im going to stay here forever untill im found.

Because ive lost myself my smile and laugh.

I didnt make the right choice and im on the wrong path.

So please help me let my find myself.

Let me forget my troubles lose my doubt.

My eyes run dry and the rain stops.

All except one last final drop.

I walk inside say goodbye to my friends.

One last night and Im alone again.

With my years of sorrow and tears of pain.

Cause all I can do is cry in the rain.

On September 29, 2008 at 1:45pm Steve wrote:
Blogger Poetry; where the wit just keeps posting.

Hey Shanna,

The words of the witters

are written on outhouse walls

and blogger halls.

Hey Kyla, aka Kid-Wit

Hoping?

You already are a witter!

You are steaming and

'witten in the rain'

See Malcolm McDowell sing that song in the movie about another repressed artist called, Clockwit Orange.

This is what Malcolm thinks about your poetry. Let him kill your pain. Then maybe you will postpoe about something or someone else.

You Kyla, don't seem to be poeworthy.

Not yet.

Forget the wet stuff.

Write some 451poetry.

I'll check backwit.

Word.

On November 3, 2008 at 6:22pm stonepoem.com wrote:
Fascinating.

On March 2, 2009 at 1:05pm summer ratliff wrote:
hi,,i have been wrighting poetry for years, have a few published and several sites, i would love any feed back from you on how to get my poetry published without great cost to me and if you think it is publishing worthy,,thanks..here is the link to view most all my writings....http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/search/?user=10011

On March 4, 2009 at 11:33am arianna zapata wrote:
who thats a cool poem nice job

On March 24, 2009 at 9:19am Shaylynn Bear. wrote:
Wow!!

thumbs up.

On March 24, 2009 at 9:20am Russel Mckay. wrote:
this is a good thing to reed.

On June 30, 2009 at 8:27pm david h barnet wrote:
fasted hands save your soul but the world is a whirlwind,an issue of inspiration can jolt the word, in these moments of granduer can we escape, from what the day was long,but the night shorter, lack of anything can kill, just as his cousin over-indulgence, apart from some happy medium it cant venture the reason, my vision is half fogged, ive lost both sets of index and pointer fingers and im still trying to sweep through that milky veil even worse,but if i stop shall i never know what lies beneath, but to keep going i will blot out any kind of sight , much as the slug rode across the razor blade, both sides are equalbut to what avail,there will be monsters, there will be no answer other than a split from appogee to perigree, to fall back together and do it all over again, so even the the most helpless, inconceivable situations will resolve themselves, and if a tree falls in the forest and no human is around,the tree will be silent, but the screams of the woodland creatures would blow your eardrums out

On May 31, 2010 at 5:11am James Harris wrote:

Judging by the amount of well meaning rubbish being posted here, blog-writing encourages maudlin self-publicists. There is surely something to said for using publishing houses as a filter to remove such sentimental dross and create a culture of engaged readers, rather than allowing writers to immortalize themselves for ever on the Internet. However, due to the enormous economic pressure they are under, publishers seem now largely unable to do that and are thinking about work now in purely commerical and marketing terms: artistic success is an accidental, although welcome, by-product. I would say that both blogging and printed media will have to define individual and separate roles over the next few years. The best scenario is where successful blogs could encourage publishers to be more bold in what they print. There are exceptions to everything I have written above, and there are certainly bold publishing houses and excellently copy-edited blogs out there. www.thefourlineblog.wordpress.com

On May 16, 2012 at 2:27am dell wrote:
I like you post , Keep updating..
hotels in inverary

On August 17, 2012 at 8:30pm Brice Maiurro wrote:
This was a great article. Thanks for posting. -Brice
www.flashlightcityblues.com

On November 1, 2012 at 5:06pm Terri Gadal wrote:
I really liked this post and completely agree.

On December 10, 2012 at 8:06pm Asher Radunsky wrote:
That's some powerful enthusiasm. Thanks so much. Check
out my new blog: unfailingword.com if you want. Be
blessed.

On March 3, 2013 at 9:50pm Christopher Robinson wrote:
Poetry is not just an art of creative expression, it is an outlet to relieve stress...and to free inner thoughts, emotions, energy, or spirit. Poetry is my passion! Here's a poem I wrote a few years back. What do you think?

FULL, BUT EMPTY…

A heart so full of love…needs not know emptiness…
The Heart I'm speaking of…is hiding its loneliness…
Choosing to be in one accord…with another heart…
Feeling a cold bladed sword...just cutting it apart…
A cold sword of one's tongue...actions, thoughts, ways...
Breathing hope in its lungs...praying for better days...
In everyway, Love is strong...in thought, how you feel...
When one can do no wrong...unable to accept what's real...

A heart so full of love...needs not know emptiness...
The Heart I'm speaking of...is hiding its loneliness...
Hiding old broken dreams...hiding the deepest pains…
It's not all Peaches & Cream...once Sunshine, now Rain...
Rain nourishes the seeded...we must weather any Storm...
Love in the heart is needed...keeping it alive & warm...
Fading joy & happiness...rejuvenated by faith & affection...
There's Spiritual Bliss...elevated by Love's connection...

A heart so full of love...needs not know emptiness...
The Heart I'm speaking of...is hiding its loneliness...
Not knowing its true worth...it's saddened with despair...
A burden heavier than Earth...seeking some loving care...
Should I walk away at last? Saving my love's existence?
Surviving heartaches of my past...Still, I'm true, persistent...
I'll keep on loving longer...regardless of how strange or odd...
Loving makes a Man Stronger...making Him closer to God...

February 28, 2002 ©
Christopher Robionson

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Biography

Shanna Compton is the author of Down Spooky and the editor of GAMERS: Artists, Writers & Programmers on the Pleasures of Pixels. Her second collection of poems, For Girls, will published in the fall by Bloof Books. She blogs at shannacompton.com/blog.html and diypublishing.blogspot.com.

Continue reading this biography

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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