Sunday, June 14, 2009

Outrageously wired

We are all so addicted to our devices, and naturally poetry, like every other form of communication, seems to have taken a quantum leap into the virtual. I mean, you can now tweet a poem.

As I perused the thinnest Sunday newspaper I have ever received, then read a report on publishing trends and how magazine sales are triumphantly less down than the rest of the retail sector, I get the feeling that everyone's showing up here. At the same instant.

Is poetry gridlock possible? Has anyone counted the number of new zines that appeared this year to date? No one's clocking the trends on free content. And here's a personal gripe: my CD, A God You Can Dance, somehow went viral and is listed on all these indie music sites. Now that's all well and good, but with downloadable tracks for 99 cents on almost all of them, not a single penny has come to me. It could well be that nobody's listening. Or ... am I slow to get this? Music is less and less sold and more and more ripped. Somehow.

The publishing of poetry has already gone down the path of willing-to-be-ripped. And now that you can read so much for nothing, are all the authors and poets and musicians going to be artists in their spare time? Puzzling. Enlighten me as to where this all goes.


  1. Anonymous2:34 PM

    One interesting player in the virtual poetry world is Narrative Magazine ( Their mission is something like "bringing great literature to the world for free" and they really do a great job of publishing new voices often and well. Their magazine is free to read, and for a small fee, you can submit. All proceeds go to paying authors that get published. I think that's pretty cool, and a great way to take a little control, while still promoting readership.

  2. I've kept my eye on Narrative and like their mission and choices very much. Paying authors is beyond cool - it's revolutionary! And maybe they can be part of finding a way the new online media will be able to do that. I'll have to look and see what their readership is, but my impression is that they're expanding it, unlike many print lit journals.