Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Have you encountered the new-new thing? It's Facebook for poets, a new site called ReadWritePoem. Now, I know what you're thinking --- one MORE social networking site to keep up with? Of course, if you have FriendFeed, keeping up with all your social nets is easy, but even if you don't, just imagine it: Facebook only for poets! Founder Dana Guthrie Martin's idea is in its infancy, but think Google when it was just a little upstart down in the flats of Silicon Valley. Think of Facebook before it got all those ridiculous games and made us addicts to our own game-breaks (my personal favorite seems to be "icing" my opponents in Mafia Wars ... so now you know). Think of small, friendly Internet ponds that became real communities before becoming teeming metropolises.

ReadWritePoem has the potential to be a really addictive hangout for poets, a virtual Poets House that anyone in any town can go and find something cool to do in: do a writing exercise, read something, play, discuss, even make a New Year's resolution (I just made a big one).

I mean, where else can you find out about The Lumberyard's Roark Prize in Poetry, the prize for which is an entire issue dedicated to your poems? Not CRWROPPS, not Poets & Writers, and surely not on Facebook.

They have virtual book tours, Makeover Mondays and revision strategies, micropoetry (tweet a poem, anyone?).

I get the idea that if you can come up with it, they can find a corner for it. So take a look: right now it's a giant poetic thinktank. Later come the Modernist Wars, Poville, Zinger Poker and other Facebook-style frivolities.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New-new way to submit, read, and publish poetry

Those of us who cherish the book, a thing to hold in the hand, sometimes a literary object that also has visual beauty, find the new world of poetry publishing morphing into something electronic so fast you can almost hear the quarks fizz past.

Tonight I encountered the inevitable consequence of the increasingly new way to submit poems, using online "submission managers." Concomitant with online submitting is getting rejections via email, which means even on your cell phone. Tonight I was having drinks with friends and during a quiet moment in the conversation, checked my email and found a batch of poems had been rejected by a zine. Now, the note was cordial, signed by an editor and all, but I really missed that envelope bringing a piece of paper that had a signature scrawled on it. Maybe if I had to send out all those rejection letters, I'd do it by email too. I'm just thinking, if it can be made a little easier via email, perhaps a little something more personal can be said. Using a little of the time saved.