Friday, September 16, 2005


JH: There should be a lot more commentary on your work - and will be soon. I've had some, mostly in backchannel, but also in blogs - such as your Tributary and once in Silliman's Blog. It is helpful in giving me another handle for my poetry. I've thought of compiling a guide to web poets: a few-paragraphs summary of the poet and plenty of links to the online work. A blog format would be useful and democratic. There would be a list of poets on the left-hand side. This project is to be very inclusive and constantly updated. Interviews and statements could be included also. Poets could include their page as a link in their ezine bios, which would allow the reader to see more of their work, and discover other poets. Does this sound like a good idea to you? I'm thinking that it could be modeled after Wikipedia, with a public adding entries. The question of ultimate editorship rears its head - who is barred from entry? Is there to be 70,000 poets - a model of the internet within the internet? A database of many of such guides?

AHB: You propose an interesting if enormous undertaking. The Poetics program at Buffalo has made good headway in providing an internet connection, so to speak, to contemporary poets. A Wikipedia-like, more egalitarian compendium would be useful, no doubt. There'd still be some manner of editing, I suppose. And maybe there should be. I would find it hard to write up writers I'm not especially interested in. There's a sea of work online. This compendium would need to be of writers who have work online, obviously. Which leaves certain writers out of the picture. I am disappointed that more bloggers aren't attempting to map out the territory themselves. More reviews of work read, or of readings attended. I would've thought that blogs were exactly made for that sort of thing. Of course, one looks at my blog and sees only a modicum of such, but I don't think I have the critical chops of X, Y, and Z. I take my hacks, tho. Ron Silliman seemingly does as much blogside reviewing as anyone, writing in a fairly formal mode. His is not the only mode (Jack Kimball's densely oblique crit writing, for instance, comes to mind), and bloggers ought to be able to negotiate the possibilities. I hope readers notice Lanny Quarles' comments on this blog, for he digs right into your work in a most satisfying way. That's what I would hope for from online publication. Do you, by the way, do any critical writing, either not for public consumption (notes in a journal, say) or in mags (that I haven't seen)?


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