The Blogging Side of Poetry

The new 2008 edition of Poet’s Market offers “Roundtable: Poets and Blogs” by Anne Bowling. Featured are bloggers Amanda Johnston, C. Dale Young (Avoiding the Muse), Kate Greenstreet (Every Other Day), Janet Holmes (Humanphone), Reb Livingston (Home-Schooled by a Cackling Jackal), and Jilly Dybka (Poetry Hut Blog).


Regarding the question, “What would you warn a potential poet-blogger against?”, each blogger had this to say:


Johnston: A blog is a public space–always remember that. Know that thousands of people could potentially read and respond to your work. This really is no different than publishing work in books or anthologies, but publishing work to a personal blog makes you more vulnerable; it’s more of a risk. 


Holmes: Excessive self-exposure. I’ve seen a few young poets make some very foolish statements on their blogs that will likely haunt them for some time.


Dybka: I would caution them against some of the same things that one should be aware of on the Internet in general. Be careful what kind of information you share. Also, have some decorum.


Livingston:  Nobody wants to read a blog if it’s just a list of publications, accomplishments and upcoming appearances. If that’s the only goal, a general Web site is the way to go. Yes, there’s a lot of opportunity to direct people to one’s work, but if one doesn’t have something to contribute, ideas or commentary, a reason for why readers would want to read your blog, there’s no purpose in blogging.


Young: No warnings. I am always telling people to write what they want to write. If there is an audience for it, they will find you. I tell folks the same thing about writing poems.


Additional questions Bowling asks of her panel include “What do blogs offer that general Web sites do not?”, “Has blogging affected the form of poetry?”, and “Is blogging a helpful tool toward publication.” See the 2008 Poet’s Market for the entire discussion.



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