Poetry blogging is dead, long live poetry blogging!
About a year ago on my own blog, I concluded that poetry blogging was dead. This was done with tongue mostly in cheek, at a time of wagging tongues—and wags. Comment streams, readers may recall, had become tails wagging the dog of poetry blog posts. I was kidding; but little did I know how much was about to change. The reconfiguration of the Poetry Foundation blog, Harriet; closing down of comments on, and then intimations of the mortality of Ron Silliman's blog; and mostly the exploding popularity and ubiquity of more immediate forms of social "networking" (someone come up with a better term for it!) like Twitter and Facebook—really have conspired to consign poetry blogging to gloom, if not downright doom. As Ron, the most prominent and valuable poetry blogger of them all reflected, "what was once the newest thing on the block has by now become normative, even predictable. Blogs continue to have their uses, but in web time nothing stands still as a form for ten years."
It is in this murky context that I am pleased to announce the debut of a new Editors' Blog for Poetry magazine.
I should distinguish, right away, this new blog from the Poetry Foundation's Harriet, which continues apace. Though that blog bears the name of our magazine's founder, Harriet Monroe, it was never intended to be a blog specifically for Poetry's readers, written by its editors, as this one will be, but rather an extension of the online features. Coexistence will be peaceful and, I hope, complimentary. More importantly, to address Ron's paradoxically well-circulated remarks, the idea for this new blog isn't new at all. Poetry's editors printed ur-blog "news and notes" features in the magazine from 1912 onward; the kind of news, you might say, that doesn't exactly stay news, as Ezra Pound would say, but which is of topical (and who knows, maybe someday historical) interest. (The first real note, as it happens, announced Pound's appointment as the magazine's Foreign Correspondent.) The topics addressed in that feature included such things as running debates about the value and integrity of poetry prizes and writing courses, reflections on the poor sales of poetry books, mild sniping at other poetry magazines, passing commentary on poetry news—and responses from disgruntled readers. Harriet Monroe liked good gossip—but also wanted to take note of matters that were "in the present interests of the art"— and so surely would have loved blogging. We'll continue the tradition, which she seems to have invented, of being newsy and notey, in this newer and more immediate, if possibly obsolescent, format.
No, we won't have comment boxes—for what I presume are obvious reasons. But if you write to us—and please do!—we'll selectively quote from and address your comments in this space.
So what's really new around here, you ask? Well...
—The magazine staff will now be blogging regularly.
—Readers will now have access to a digital magazine archive that includes every issue of Poetry magazine since 1912. The new interface allows users to browse through close to 100 years of issues.
—The magazine now features monthly discussion guides. (Don't forget to check out our award-winning monthly Poetry podcast!)
—We've improved poem searching and browsing across the site, but specifically users can now easily refine by magazine content directly from the search tool.
—The browse poetry carousel offers readers the ability to find new poems and to dig deeper into site content.
Welcome, then, to the Editors' Blog. Explore the redesigned magazine site, and let us know what you think!
P.S. Ron's blog is alive and well.
Don Share became the editor of Poetry in 2013. His books of poetry are Wishbone (2012), Squandermania (2007), and Union (2013, 2002). He is the co-editor of The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine (2012), and editor of Bunting's Persia (2012) and a critical edition of Basil Bunting's poems (2016). He...