Photo: Ralph Aichinger
The digital age has arrived and it’s time for young poets to seize on their first-rate knowledge of technology/web and apply it to their writing. Poets need to be clear with themselves about what their goals really are and how a networked laptop can help them to get what they want.
You want readers and constructive criticism from experienced writers? Now you can reach out to an audience directly from your laptop and build a community to share writing with. There’s an amazing library of poetry online to explore.
We challenge you to write a list of five goals you want to achieve as a poet this year. Against each goal on your list, jot down websites/tools you might use to help you.
You can add your list as a comment on this blogpost or email firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Read poetry regularly – Read something new on the Poetry Archive each day.
2. See your work published – Publish some of your poems on a blog.
3. Receive feedback – Email a link to your blog to a teacher or person whose opinion you value highly.
4. Put your poetry in print – Publish a pamphlet of your poems using Bookleteer.
5. Perform your work out loud – Arrange a poetry night with friends and record your work for YouTube.
Kati Rynne’s List of Goals
Kati Rynne writes children’s novels and performs her poetry – www.katirynne.com/fiction She’s Education Manager at the Institute for the Future of the Book, a digital fiction company.
2. I want to find other people to perform with
3. I want to stay in touch with my poetry heroes (even if they’re dead!)
I make ‘pilgrimages’ to poets’ birthplaces and take photos. I visited Helpston, home of John Clare, and uploaded my photos on Flickr, where they were added to a photostream by an online group of Clare fans. It was a nice way to unearth other people to discuss Clare’s work with!
5. I want to hear excellent poetry read aloud
YouTube is my friend. I search for amazing readings by Ted Hughes
Eva Salzman on What She Wants the Internet to Do for Her
Eva Salzman is an acclaimed poet whose work has been widely translated. Her first collection, The English Earthquake, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and she has collaborated with musicians, composers, artists and dancers. Salzman was a judge for the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award in 2008. Her most recent works are Bargain With the Watchman and Double Crossing: New and Selected. She lives in Brooklyn and London.
Eva uses “Webpages function as online CV and information source for readers and browsers, publicizing my publications/books, broadcasts, performances, teaching skills and schedule of readings in UK and internationally.”
She also enjoys “Literary research sites with a range of primary sources such as articles, essays, reviews and background information on poets and writers. It may be considered old-fashioned but I still prefer reading poems and fiction in books!” In particular she recommends Poets.Org and Modern American Poetry.
“Firefox is my favorite search engine I save on my home pages links to favorite research materials useful in my teaching and writing, these mostly found through Google. I use Amazon to find new and used books, including its American site too: I have one-click ordering set up there, but still use bookshops too!”
Eva knows, however, that the internet is a double-edged sword. She would like to see “professional journals paying proper copyright fees and royalties for writing commissions. When offered, such remuneration is rarely at a professional rate. Publicity is often thought to be payment enough… though not for editors or those who run the journal!
Likewise, online sections of newspapers and journals which pay proper fees for reprinting work for which they’d paid one-off fee only for hard copy publication. As it stands, the web supports the de-professionalizing of the writing profession. Surely, this isn’t the right message to send to students in terms of their own future and the value put on poetry and literature in our society.”
Over to you
Try writing a list of five goals you’d like to set yourself as a budding poet. Against each goal, jot down sites/tools you could use to help you.
We’d love to see your list! Add it as a comment below.
Chris Meade is the Director of if:book uk, a think and do tank exploring the future of the book in the digital age. He was Director of the Poetry Society from 1993-2000 and Booktrust 2000-2007.