The class will begin on August 28.
The biggest writing/publishing project that we will undertake is, really, this blog. It will be our classroom, our space for conversation about the readings, excursions, and projects in the class. More to the point, we’ll approach the blog as a collaborative publication. Like the other forms under study on our syllabus, we will consider its form, history, constraints, and unique possibilities.
Note: while it is no longer the heydey of the “poetry blog,” blogging is still alive as a medium for commenting on the state of the art in bursts of more than 280 characters. Even though the poetry blog “scene” of the early 2000s has largely broken up and migrated elsewhere, its affect on poetry discourse remains legible. So, let’s be aware of, and reflective about, the form and context in which we’re blogging this semester.
Craig Morgan Teicher’s 2006 Publisher’s Weekly article, “Poetry off the Books,” is a quick panoramic of the poetry blog as publishing phenomenon. Writing at the peak of its popularity, he notes the vitality of the medium: more access to poems = more readers = more books! (No doomsday predictions that “now no one will buy poetry books anymore.”) Follow the many links (most still active) and get a sense of what is/was out there. If Teicher’s article captures the exuberance of that peak in popularity, Joshua Corey’s more recent article “The Golden Age of Poetry Blogging” (Plume, 2017) looks critically and nostalgically from the standpoint of its decline. Both past and present raise questions for the future.
As you read about the “poetry blog” in these two articles, think about how the medium of publication (the blog, in this case) shapes content. Poetry, and poetry discourse, spill to fit their container, and vice versa, new containers take shape to accommodate things that we want to say and hear. And this give-and-take does not happen in a vacuum: political and cultural forces are a crucial part of this shaping process.
After reading, please chime in with a comment. What is something specific to the blog format that you might appreciate/enjoy, either as a reader or writer? How does blogging compare with social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram?