Poetry and New Media Project

Project Statement

February 2009

The Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute has invited a panel of poets, publishers, and experts from the fields of media law, technology, and other pertinent areas to come together both in person and virtually during the year of 2009. The group will examine issues related to the preparation, distribution, and reception of poetry through existing and evolving new media platforms, including the Internet and other electronic forms and devices, with the aim of forging recommendations that both protect the intellectual property of poets and publishers and ensure a vigorous presence for poetry in various forms on new media outlets.

Project Principles

  • The guiding principle of the project is the idea that securing the interests of poets and their publishers, and with them those of their audiences, is key to the successful emergence of poetry in any medium, including electronic media. Consideration of the needs of poets and their publishers, including fealty to the original sources of poems, fair remuneration, broad distribution, and accurate crediting, will be a cornerstone of this inaugural HMPI project.
  • Thus the project will focus on and include poets and small and large publishers as essential stakeholders in the discussion, bringing them together with experts and leaders from electronic media, from copyright and media law, and from other pertinent fields to work toward recommendations for a flexible and visionary model for new-media distribution of poems.
  • Through this focus on poetry and its creators and publishers, the project will also work to address the distinctive character and needs of poetry as an art form and to consider this character in developing recommendations about how best to bring poetry to audiences now being reached by new media.
  • While this project will begin by focusing on the opportunities and pitfalls involved in the distribution of poems over the Internet and through other existing mechanisms such as podcasting, it will also necessarily address the evolving nature of technology and new media and thus will develop recommendations flexible enough to simultaneously serve varied electronic distribution platforms, including those we might think of as “old new media,” such as radio and television, as well as those that are only now beginning to emerge.
  • The project will also identify possible future collaborators and supporters (individuals, organizations, and institutions) to be contacted during and shortly after the active phase of the project.
  • Any resulting administration of generated ideas will be undertaken by a separate entity or entities.

View the project's participants

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