Sunday, June 26, 2005

Poetry newsgroups

Occasionally people ask: "What's the point of the poetry newsgroups?" Or even: "What's the difference between alt.arts.poetry.comments and rec.arts.poems?" Well, I can't answer the first question (except to say they're fun, you know, if you enjoy that sort of thing), but I do have an answer to the second question.

I always think of aapc as the friendly bar where people go to read, share and critique poetry - sometimes it gets a bit rowdy, but everyone cheers when someone stands on the bar and starts to declaim verse.

I think of rap as the dockside pub down the road. There's plenty of poetry in rap (if you look), scrawled on walls or chiselled in the bar (or occasionally someone's forehead if they're stupid enough to pass out on top of the bar), and there are some excellent ditties on the bog door. The locals expect to get a brick through the windows two or three times a week on average, but then there's no telling whether the brick was thrown from the outside in, or from the inside out. The bar never closes, and the carousing never dies - as one participant slumps to the floor, another reels in through the doors (assuming the doors are still on their hinges) to join in. Every now and again Mom turns up and tells the kids (they're all inter-related, you know) to "clean house" and everyone gets down to the job, contributing poems as they go along - including some of the best poems you're likely to read by people not yet famous (in my opinion). Then the barstaff crack open another couple of casks, smash the necks of half a dozen bottles of Chardonnay, and the party whirls back up a gear, fights and carousing all over the place.

I love aapc - I think it's a fab place to visit.

But rap's home, ya know.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Poetry Periscope

I've been thinking about the oceans of poetry on the internet, and the time it takes to search for the good stuff in the midst of the not so good stuff, and I've decided to do something about it.

Introducing the Poetry Periscope

Why does the world need a new listing service? There's a lot of places elsewhere which list personal poetry websites. But Poetry Periscope is more than a simple listing service - it's searchable. Poets can list their websites, add a quick blurb about themselves and their poetry and select some keywords which best describe the sort of poetry they write. Then visitors can come along and search the database for the sort of poetry they're interested in reading.

The site is in beta-testing, but still very much at the useable stage of the development cycle. If anyone wants to add their website details to the database, then please do be my guest!