When I first began slaving away on this blog, one of my first and most helpful visitors was Greg Pincus. He welcomed me to “the club” and offered all sorts of useful and practical advice. Even now I know that I haven’t finished taking advantage of everything that Greg explained how to do, but, if I’m lucky, I eventually will.
Yesterday you learned something about Greg. Now you can read some of his interesting thoughts about the web and its impact on publishing.
PoetrE – poetry in the e-book and online age
By Greg Pincus
There’s been a lot of hand wringing lately about the future of publishing and of books themselves. It’s hard to know how everything will play out, other than technology will be a part of it, but one thing I’m sure of: poetry will be fine. In fact, I think it will thrive.
The web has already shown that there’ a big audience looking for poetry: Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry for Kids (http://www.poetry4kids.com) site has had more than 122,000,000 page views since 2004; poet Taylor Mali (http://www.youtube.com/user/taylormali?blend=5&ob=4) has videos on YouTube (admittedly not for kids) with over one million views; in 2009, I had nearly 100,000 visitors come to my blog after they searched Google for some sort of poetry and found my site in their search results. Blogs, websites, and YouTube channels serve give poetry fans a place to hang out among the likeminded with no geographical restraints – like a virtual, 24/7 coffeehouse.
Social networks, in turn, can help poems spread to people who weren’t already looking for poetry. Don’t believe me? Update your Facebook status one day by typing in a short poem or a link to a favorite piece of poetry and see what type of response you get. Or I can give you links to threads of World of Warcraft players and actuaries and knitters sharing poetry. Online, we aren’t just one thing – a lawyer can be a poet, and vice versa – and this enables poetry to cross all sorts of borders.
Beyond the web, the possibilities are just as exciting. Poetry on the page or screen is a wonderful thing, but poetry well performed can be even more exciting. We’ve all heard the stories of children turned off of poetry because it seems lifeless and dull. With podcasts, e-books, and videos, we suddenly have a chance to have great performances captured and widely distributed. What a great option for parents and teachers (and everyone).
And these options aren’t replacements for what we already have. For example, imagine a poetry collection in an e-book form, with audio and video tracks available at the push of a button… or the poem alone on the page for the reader to devour. Or think of concrete poetry where movement can be part of the poetry as well. The possibilities go on and on, as long as we’re willing to take chances. And when have poets been afraid?
Now, I’m not saying it’s time to become a poet and gain riches. This is only technological change, not a new world order! But in terms of poets and poetry reaching fans and creating new ones… as far as I’m concerned, there’s never been a better time.