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Poetry Writers' Yearbook 2008


Poetry Writers’ Yearbook - new edition

Article on ePoetry and eZines

The Poetry Writers' Yearbook 2008 gives detailed listings of publishing companies, events and competitions, and helps you to survive and thrive as a poet.

The new 2008 edition includes a foreword by Poet Laureate Don Paterson and contributions from established poets George Szirtes, Andrew MotionEnglish poet, novelist and biographer; Poet Laureate of United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009; during his laureateship founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work, Colette Bryce and Carol Ann Duffy. Poetry editors at Bloodaxe and tall lighthouse give practical advice on getting your work in print. Packed with useful contacts and advice, the Poetry Writers' Yearbook brings poets and audiences together to provide an essential reference source.

The book is edited by Gordon Kerr and is available at £12.99 from the publisher’s website.

A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing have kindly agreed to let us reprint the following article from the book on web opportunities from Kostas Hrisos.

ePoetry and eZines

The Internet provides poets with an exciting new outlet for their poetry. Kostas Hrisos, founder and editor of poetry ezine, Interpoetry, provides a useful and practical guide to the fast-growing world of the poetry ezine and e-poetry.

Fiction and poetry are very difficult to write. But it’s even more difficult, especially for poetry, to get published. Poetry has little commercial appeal and publishing is a cut-throat business. The expense of print publication is prohibitive and distribution is exorbitant. But, poetry belongs to the people and despite these problems, is flourishing – though it may be marginal to the interests of the general reader. Although a somewhat minority art, an astonishing number of people do write poetry and an even more astonishing number read it. Thanks to the Internet.

As the Internet expands its reach, a rapidly growing legion of international online journals (ezines) appears. They build on the reputation of the established ones that have demonstrated that they can be just as well edited – and just as creatively and inventively formatted – as anything in print. An ezine can be put up on line at an insignificant cost. Distribution is global and immediate and it is all available – latest issue and, unlike a book, back issues and archives – 24/7. This thriving arena of journals, resource portals and hybrids of writing, news and art offers the opportunity to everyone to publish and allows for easy communication and ready access to a vast pool of material.

The Internet opens endless possibilities to Contemporary/Visual poetry to create works that synthesise both arts and media. There are many types of ‘Digital Poetry’ that take advantage and harness this flexibility of the Digital Media/Multimedia and the Internet ’s interactive nature, to enhance and expand the poetic and artistic techniques. The Internet provides a doorway to numerous new, varied type and wide diversity of styles of Digital Poetry – also referred to as e-Poetry or electronic poetry – that is defined as ‘approaches to poetry that all have in common the use of computers’.

Digital Poetry creates a combination/montage of visual and verbal signs of contemporary poetics and aesthetics. It interacts with the reader and exploits the graphic form of the letter, the word or the text and uses visual images (animations, drawings, photos, numbers, or other graphic elements) as compositional components of the poem through formal interrelationship and semantic interpenetration.

Writing is a lonely activity. The Internet publishes aspiring authors and greatly assists the amateur and the new poet. It also promotes many established poets, through posting their work, their books and web page links. It also creates a connected web of writers that helps to promote poetry locally and globally. The web has no countries – it is international.

Hypertext, listservs (email-based mailing-list applications), blogs (websites that provide commentary or news on a particular subject.) and other forms of network communication create communities of collaborative writing and publications. Poetical wikis are designed to allow multiple authors to add, remove and edit content. Poets (and authors) have only begun to exploit the Internet ’s possibilities – the more ambitious experiment with multimedia, sound, animation and video. Flash, Applets and other programs interact with the user to create a poem (here quality is questionable but the results are fun). Cursors that reveal, conceal or wipe out text and background images. Shape-shifting poems and 3D poems that you can transform at a click of a mouse button, or generate text, kinetic poetry, code poetry and sound poetry.

By encouraging these rich ways of mixing different kind of signs, the user/reader is now obliged to adopt an intelligent approach to reading a poem and not just a mechanical interaction.

In general, publishing poetry through these channels is no different from submitting to conventional magazines. They offer many amateurs their only chance of seeing their work published. Submitting to Poetry ezines is quick and free - an attachment to an email - and sometime you can use a library’s or college’s computers to send the email.

Quality varies. There are excellent, reputable literary ezines/journals out there that take email submissions for their online site and also produce a print journal. They are well moderated (edited) and have excellent articles, bulletin boards, workshops and forums, where poems and writing matters are discussed and encouraged. There are also long-established small presses with Internet presence.

Never underestimate the user’s/reader’s intelligence. They know enough to appreciate ezines for good quality. New poets know they can join a few well-established poetry forums, for good workshops that offer legitimate, constructive critique from a variety of other poets and readers. This way they can determine if their poetry holds universal appeal. If they constantly receive excellent reviews and feedback, then they will want to submit for publications to reputable Literary and Poetry ezines and print press.

This way, new and established authors learn to create better poems and they increase their web presence and thus their reputation and credibility.

There is a downside: the Internet does not yet have the reputation of printed work. The work could be plagiarised. It does not pay anything. However, there are many reputable ezines that will pay for good material and any work can be plagiarised out of a print journal.

Does Digital Poetry work? If you are asking, you are interested. And if you are interested, you have to boldly go out there and use it. Even better - create it yourself and put it out there.

You might decide you’d like to run a Poetry ezine, like, that provides a platform where all kinds of creative innovations can be published and a space where new creative writers and artists can be seen next to more successful, established ones. An artist/photographer is selected for the issue’s cover. Then you will have to decide if you are going to be one-man-band – the web designer, the webmaster, the editor, the promoter and the public relations person – or share the responsibility. Either way, it takes dedication, effort and time. You must decide on the scope and the content of the ezine, design it, build it with HTML, Dreamweaver or any other program at home and then Upload it/Update it.

The easiest part is to buy and register a website site (Domain Name). If you are lucky, you might even find a Domain Name with ‘poetry’ in it that is free; just search for ‘domain names’ with any search engine. Then, the same company may offer you ‘Website hosting’, where you publish your Website. Prices vary.

It is very difficult to promote a site, but is even more difficult to promote a ‘bad site’. There are numerous sources with legislation and rules you should apply, and pitfalls to avoid, into designing a "good website". I recommend you read them.

If you plan to publish your own work, then you have everything you need. If you are planning to publish other people’s work then you become an editor - and that is where quality and reputation make a significant difference. Content is the most important feature of an ezine. It is the editor’s responsibility to ensure the quality of the materials published that will attract visitors, better contributors and that will build the ezine’s reputation.

Once all this is completed, you need an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program to upload and manage the site to the host server. How often? It is entirely up to you. receives a number of submissions/contributions for each issue, from poets from all over the word. Its reputation is build in its design, but mostly on its content, with contributions from famous poets from all over the world – Alamgir Hashmi, Anne Stevenson, Elizabeth Smither, John Hegley, Lee Harwood, Linda France, Patrick Pritchett, Pedro Serrano, to mention but a few.

I upload to the materials that the editorial team selects, from the number submitted, mostly by email, as soon as I can. This way attracts visitors daily and they can observe the process of the issue being developed. Please take a look and do submit/contribute.

The real impact of e-poetry lies in the future when handheld A4 computers (just like the eframes for images/video now) will be available and will not only display text but it will be interactive and multimedia as well. Publishing and the role of the author and the possibilities of literary education will change drastically. Authors, poets and artists will collaborate directly to create a holistic eproduct for a holistic experience.

Kostas Hrisos is founder, editor and webmaster of poetry ezine, Interpoetry.

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Article © A & C Black Publishers Limited 2006

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