So we conclude the poetry campaign …
Today’s video and blog concludes the poetry campaign on the lyw YouTube channel, having gone for approximately five months. It’s been a great ride into social media and the business of other poets and artists online.
In five months, I was introduced to the first young, living poet for who I would become a fan. My research dug up master poets from the past, as well as from different cultures and languages, that would have never existed for me without this campaign. I animated poems both old and obscure, strange and passionate through music and video; watching some of my own poems dance this way and that. I connected with strangers online knowing next to nothing about them other than a common interest in art and poetry.
Since the purpose of this campaign was to promote poetry appreciation, it seems ironic that I found my own appreciation was not as active as I thought. I write poetry. I certainly like my own enough. And I like the poets that helped to form my style and tastes. Most of these poets are writers who I found when I was an active student of literature; that was over 20 years ago.
With old poetry always evolving, or being discovered, and new poetry constantly being written, I can hardly say I am current.
With reflection, I think I must have assumed that today’s poetry was just like me: an older generation writer holding onto an older generation’s genre and therefore that genre must still be stuck in its past glory. Thus, I must have further assumed that the poets that I looked up to 20 years ago, made up the same master canon for great poetry today. My old canon was also limited to what was available to my North American education. Poetry is international and multi-cultural.
As this campaign’s goal was to stretch the shrinking niche market of poetry; so did my own revitalization begin. How priceless is that?
I hope that poetry explodes on the Internet. I think it is the best place for it now. At this point, it will not make anybody rich. Writers can be liberated by that fact. Poetry can be made exclusively for the craft, and certainly NOT made exclusive to a few.
However, there is a risk to poetry storming the Internet. It is the same risk that many Internet news sites and social media tools are under: too much filler content. Content for the sake of content should be an Internet sin. Readers are drowning in this stuff. Blank space is beautiful and better on the eyes and mind than some of the ‘news’ I have read online. Pinterest has become one of my favourite social media tools because it values visual content over text. This may seem contradictory for a writer of words, however, in this bombastic Information Age, less is so much better.
So poetry not only needs to take advantage of the benefits of the Internet, it can be part of its solution. Don’t let your wonderful poetry get buried under six feet of fillers. And if you have a 50 page epic poem that is itching to be read, you just need to be extra inventive in the way you present that online. There are lots of free, online tools and tutorials on how to do that. Plain text is not the way to use a platform that hosts text, images, audio and video, as well as social networking tools.
Also another idea for the dream of a Poetry Revolution online: I think copyright permissions need to be easier to request and get. Publishers need to make it easier to share their publications for non-commercial use and get more master poets (meaning: more than the usual suspects) actively read online. Let’s make them the next YouTube sensations! If kitten videos can get a million viewers then so can our best poets.
I would also love to see more living, contemporary writers have their own professional websites or web profiles that make them easier to contact. The stereotype of writers who must work in extreme isolation and loneliness has never been a healthy one; even for introverts, like me. For writers who are available online, people might be so moved by your work that they will promote your work through their own social media. Writers online make it easier to share their great work, as well as contact, for proper permission, to use their work.
Thank you for reading this blog. I hope you enjoy the last video installment to our poetry campaign on the lyw YouTube channel. The theme is simple: these are clips from poems I found during the poetry campaign that are fabulous but didn’t fit any of my other themes: