A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be a featured poet at the Skagit River Poetry Festival in La Conner, WA. If you ever have the chance to come out north of Seattle for a beautiful May weekend, do it. The festival is a sister festival to the Geraldine Dodge Festival as it was literally co-founded by the sister of one of Dodge's founders.
Oddly enough, I was placed on two panels called "Poetry and Technology" alongside Emily Warn, a wonderful poet in her own right and the creator of the Poetry Foundation website. My first reaction was to ask to be switched to another panel. What did I know of technology?
And yet. I blog fairly regularly, I teach hybrid courses, and serve as an editor of an on-line journal. My skills are limited but I represent a certain kind of poet who participates in social media and who wants to make use of the amazing poetry resources found on the web.
At the Mass Poetry Festival this May (perhaps my favorite festival as it takes place in my home state and gets more inclusive each year) I heard Don Share speak of how T.S. Elliott's "The Wasteland" appeared in Poetry magazine at a time when the journal had only 200 subscribers. If everyone shared their journal with a friend, that means a 400 person readership for Elliott. Compare that to a poem on the Poetry Foundation web site which received 8,000 hits and counting just last month by Franny Choi, "To the Man Who Shouted ''I Like Pork Fried Rice' at Me on the Street."
The participants at our panel were a bit suspicious of all this blogging and Facebooking, rightly so. What's the point? one woman asked. What is the point of chatting with friends over coffee or staring out at the garden each morning? We want to connect with each other, to learn something new, to participate in this thing called life. As a fifty-something woman I've made peace with technology. Like any new invention, what matters is how we use it.
My first e-book has just been published by Two Sylvias Press and so Cloud Pharmacy now rightly exists in The Cloud. You can read it for free for a few minutes and then, poof! Or you can buy it along side the paperback for a couple of dollars. The world is changing so quickly and although I will never catch up, I do hope to follow slowly along. If you want to add links to this -- just leave me a comment!
TECHNOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF POETRY – 2014
Diverse, Cool Websites for Poet Types
1. Poetry Daily --- a poem every day; diverse poems.
2. Poetry Foundation --- most comprehensive poetry resource on the web.
3. Poets.Org relaunched site -- looks good and very new
4. Favorite Poem Project – Anybody sends in their favorite poem – and why.
5. The Human Journal – based in Istanbul, I am the poetry editor
6. The Poet Speaks of Art --- site on ekphrastic art (poems and visual art)
7. Linebreak - online “journal” where the poem includes a recording
8. “Forgetfulness” by Billy Collins - Animated Poetry (528,372)
9. Women’s Poetry Listserv – Contemporary Women’s Poetry