Sunday, April 30, 2006

Like tell me something I don't know

You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer

Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.

And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.

Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...

Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Website meltdown

Due to the utter fucking incompetence of my website hosts - the WebFusion-123Reg-Pipex multinational piracy conglomerate - looks like its gone tits-up and currently appears un-rescue-able.

For those lucky few who do need to email me, is working, as is

Monday, April 24, 2006

Kalieda with clouds

Originally uploaded by adleyrik.
This is my first attempt at rendering the planet with some clouds. I decided to hand-draw the clouds rather than use some gizmo within Blender to generate them for me. The hurricane to the far right is a bit pants, but then I didn't expect to get this right on the first attempt!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Kalieda's ice cap

Originally uploaded by adleyrik.
My Blender skills are beginning to develop - this is a piccie of the planet showing the northern continent of Cheidrah and its attendant icecap.

Still lots to do and learn though. Clouds, for instance. More natural sunlight. Animation.

I think I'm supposed to be writing a poem ...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Kalieda from space

One of the reasons for learning how to play with Blender is to wrap my Kalieda maps onto a globe. I display my first (poor) attempts below to give people an idea about the look of the planet and the placement of the 3 main continents.

This is Falah, in the southern hemisphere ...

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... and this is Cheidrah - on the same side of the planet as Falah, but a lot further north ...

[edit: image deleted]

... and this is Ewlah, home to the Gevey speaking peoples (alongside 18 other distinct languages, including the still developing Wakat language) which sits on the other side of the globe to the other continents:

[edit: image deleted]

Eventually, I want to get a little movie of the spinning globe (or a flypast of the planet) to use on the introduction page of the website.

And I make no excuse for playing with Blender rather than writing my NaPo poems for Saturday and Sunday. Quite frankly, Blender offered me more fun. And tomorrow is another day. And anyways I work for the Government, where deadlines are relative and if the Minister promises to publish something in the Spring but it doesn't get published until mid-August, then as far as the Civil Service is concerned mid-August is Spring, so less of this nonsense talk about missed deadlines!

Hot poetry at

So for Easter, I thought I'd do a quick check on how The RikVerse is doing. very kindly ranks books and other products according to how well they're selling. My book currently ranks at #9,536, nestling amid other poetry books like Daisies by Nancy B Mann - "A collection of poems and short stories about loss, grief, and hope. This collection recounts my experiences and feelings after the deaths of my father, maternal grandparents, my cousin, and my mother. I hope others who are grieving may find some comfort in knowing there are others who share their pain and understand the process they are going through"; Words To Dream And Wonder In Pictures by Phillip Allen - "This Sampler contains twenty-one poems set on some wonderful backgrounds. Great for restaurants or special events"; and True Poetry by Michael King - "This is a collection of poems that i have written over the past 5 or 6 years. It has a meaning to it, it teaches and people have told me that my poetry has touched there heart and that it has inspires them. I hope it does for you".

I'm not going to denigrate these people (even after reading Nancy's sampler): they've at least had the guts to pull their fingers out of their arses, do some work and get their poems into print. Each of them has sold as many copies of their books as I have mine. They're investigating the possibilities and living the dream, just like me. Go visit their Lulu pages and check out their product - I mean what's it going to cost you? A couple of minutes of time and a remote chance of spraining your clicking finger?

For those people who like rankings, the top five ranked poetry books on this week are:

1. Wildness in a Small Place by Randy Minnich - "A journal of the author's observations of the passage of a year in an urban nature area, supplemented with poems and drawings."

2. The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel edited by Molly Arden and Reb Livingston - "These poems will do ANYTHING. Edited by Reb Livingston and Molly Arden from No Tell Motel (, this anthology includes seductive poems by over 80 of today's most discreet poets including Aaron Anstett, Bruce Covey, Catherine Daly, Denise Duhamel, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Amy Gerstler, Noah Eli Gordon, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Cynthia Huntington, Kirsten Kaschock, Amy King, Shin Yu Pai, Lance Phillips, P.F. Potvin, Standard Schaefer, Ravi Shankar, Heidi Lynn Staples, Allyssa Wolf and others."

3. Let a New Woman Rise by Barbara Haskins - "This is the long-awaited, Definitive Collection of poems from revolutionary poetess, BARBARA HASKINS!"

4. Teardrop Diary by Erin McSparron - "This unique book combines original works of poetry, Bible verses, and space to journal thoughts and feelings. It is ideal for anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or stillbirth. The poems will walk a grieving person through the many stages of grief, overwhelming feelings, and frustrations associated with their loss. Whether for yourself or for a gift, this book will support, encourage, and help heal hearts after a pregnancy loss."

5. The Healing Conscious by Kifle Bantayehu - "The "Healing Conscious" tells the story of an Ethiopian immigrant boy on his fascinating journey to America and adulthood. The author, a second-generation Ethiopian immigrant, recounts this poignant tale in poetic format. His inspirational collection of poems reflects the final words and thoughts of a dying man who traveled across the world, raised a family and became successful. Finally fulfilling the American dream. Part of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to 46664, Africare, the African AIDS Initiative and other organizations working to promote HIV awareness and helping those affected in Sub-Saharan and East Africa."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Blender 3D

Earlier this week - just for a bit of fun - I downloaded the Blender 3D modelling software.

The software has been developed in the open source manner, and I've been having a great time learning not to be frightened by the overly fiendish user interface.

I've been using the Wikibooks Blender 3D: Noob to Pro tutorial-cum-reference book to help me learn how to drive the software. Like Blender itself, the Wikibook is a collaborative effort from people giving their time freely to produce something useful. Like Blender, the wikibook is freely distributed.

And yet the wierdest thing is that if I honed my 3D modelling skills well enough I could go away and get a proper job which paid me lots of money for my new skills and I wouldn't be obliged to pay the software developers or Wikibook authors a penny in conmpensation.

Though something tells me that the chances of me getting a graphics modelling job anytime before retirement are remote.

So, Rik. What's all this got to do with poetry?

Well, dear readers (and I hope you're both sitting comfortably), when I first decided to learn to write poetry I went to a real life poetry workshop, and paid a lot of money (relative to my income at the time) for the education I received. I also bought poetry how-to books. If I had wanted detailed critique I could have sent a selection of poems off to an editor or professional critic for their - renumerated - opinion on my work. If I wanted to enter my poems into a competition I'd have to pay an entrance fee. If I wanted to submit my work to a poetry magazine it was commonly expected that I would take out a subscription to the magazine (though a fat lot of good that attempt at bribery achieved). Creative writing courses were rare beasts in those days, but weekend workshops and short courses taught by "professional" poets were available - if you had the money.

The internet changed all that.

Today I can go to one venue to workshop my poetry for free - all that's expected of me is to offer critiques on other people's poems in return. I can go to other venues to just post poems and trade creative insults with trolls and lesser scum. I can submit my work to online magazines, and read online magazines, without the need to fork out wads of cash for the privelige. I can get an education for free from any number of poetry resources available - for free - on the web. I can showcase my poems in the way that I want them presented to the world. I can publish my poems in hardback. I can play poetry-related games with people in North and South America, Europe and Asia, Africa, Australia and even people living north of Watford! I can tape myself so people can hear me - even see me - reading my own poems.

All for free.

Internet poetry is not the same as traditional poetry. The reach of the internet is magnitudes larger than real-life poetry. The interactivity of the internet is changing the writer-publisher-reader relationship out of all recognition. It's not enough for an internet poet to understand, write and perform poetry: they need to understand about communications and information theory, web practicalities and PR opportunities. Poets are changing; audiences are changing; opportunities for the development of poetry itself are changing.

I like this Brave New World. Every day is a Brand New Adventure!

Pretty flames and fireworks in Blogland

So, there's this man called Craig Teicher who writes an article on poetry and the internet for some outfit called which manages to reference Ron Silliman and Josh Corey and some online poetry magazines and in the process upsets people like Reb Livingston and many others which all then develops into a slapfest about site meters and who's got the biggest hitcounter.


Anyways, getting back to the article, my complaint with it seem to be chiming closely with Tony Tost's reservations - namely that the article misses the point by trying to view online poetry as some sort of complement or imitation of "real-world" poetry: the publishers, the critics, the magazines, the MFAs, etc, etc, etc.

For instance:

"The Web is allowing poets and publishers of poetry—both the big houses and the many independent, nonprofit and university presses—direct access to their readers."

So much for poets doing it for themselves. In this statement the author assumes that the internet is a tool of the real world poetry business.

No, Craig, it is not. The internet is a release from the old po-biz paradigms. And if you don't agree, then I suggest that you haven't been looking hard enough at what's really going on beyond the self-erected walls of the blogosphere.

"These magazines are publishing a wide range of poets, from Pulitzer Prize winners to up-and-coming poets still in M.F.A. programs."

Oh, fabulous! In this statement the author assumes the only people qualified to write poetry are those with MFA qualifications.

Oops. Looks like you've fucked up there, Roots!

I suppose it is nice to have people writing about internet poetry for a wider audience. But to be honest I don't think the cause - if there is one, and personally I prefer to think of internet poetry as a force of nature which the world needs to deal with rather than as a new frontier waiting to be conquered - I don't think the "cause" is served by such a narrowly focussed article parading itself as an introduction to the internet poetry phenomenon.

I actually fantasised about what a book on the history of internet publishing could look like - the range of issues and stories to cover, etc - last September on this here very blog. Poetry blogs didn't get a mention until the penultimate chapter.

Strange, that.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Just a quick warning that my website is going to be playing up (more than it usually does) over the next few days as I move servers.

Crossing fingers that the old server's steam valves don't blow before the move is completed.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Judgment video

The more I stare at this video, the more I come to realise that it's not my voice I hate. I can live with hearing recordings of my voice. No, what I really don't like is the way my mouth moves when I'm talking. I mean, I can get my nose fixed through the miracles of modern surgery. But that mouth is just plain evil.

I'm not convinced adding video is such a good idea. I've recorded 4 of the buggers. I think I could just upload them to youtube then connect them up to my website and ignore the whole thing. I mean, I don't have to watch myself reading poetry - only the strange people who get a kick out of watching people read poetry need to suffer that.

I've recoded my website pages to show video alongside the poems (for those poems with video) - here's the link to the Judgement poem. Uploading the video to takes ages - they convvert the video into shockwave format at their end, so even if I wanted to I doubt I'd be able to video more than half a dozen poems each weekend.

Fuck! I wish I could act.