Thursday, April 30, 2009

Teh Internetz: Bloggity Blog Blog

Writing on Teh Internetz. We all do it. You may not want to call it blogging, but whatever.

Today, I bring you profiles of some of the more ubiquitous blogging tools. You know. In case you wanna get in on some of that easy blogging money!

(Caveat: There is actually no easy blogging money.)

Speaking of, these are all free services. Unless you want to get fancy, you can run a blog on these platforms for no money at all.

1. Blogger

Blogger is the blogging platform that's owned by Google. You know it; you're looking at it right now. It's Fringe's platform of choice, and it's fairly easy peasy. If you've got a Google account (also known as a Gmail account, though it does more than Gmail, people), then you can log in to and get started right now. However, there's not a ton of room for fancy personalization.

2. Wordpress

A favorite among the slightly tech-savvy, Wordpress sports a clean, streamlined look that can be calibrated to your personal tastes with lots and lots of options. It started life as an open-source blogging service at, but now it's got the balls of corporate backing. A favorite in my line of work because it's got some great content management systems.

3. Typepad

To my young eyes, it seems as if Typepad has been around since time began. It was one of the first blogging platforms, and it's grown a lot. Typepad is owned by the company Six Apart, which you may know as the creators of Movable Type, another of the early blogging tools. It's actually not too different from Wordpress, but in terms of branding, Typepad has always felt old person's blogging platform. Something almost business-like, I mean.

4. LiveJournal

LiveJournal, or LJ, is a blogging platform used mostly by suicidal teenagers and fans of Twilight. LJ is NOT classy. It's NOT pretty. It's NOT simple to customize. And it's certainly not a blog URL you'd want printed on your Big Girl business cards. But LiveJournal is good at community building, and if you want to bitch about TV shows and hot vampires, this is the place to do it.

I can say all these horrible things about LiveJournal because I use it. In fact, I use all these different services for different blogging projects. Depending on what you want your blog to be about and how much effort you want to put in its maintenance, you can decide for yourself.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Blood

Along with the approaching redesign,
the gorgeous spring weather, and our interactive Round Robin story project, we at Fringe are excited about a few shakeups going down behind the scenes.

We are pleased to announce two new editors joining the staff with our upcoming June installment! Llalan Fowler has taken the reigns of our nonfiction section from Shuchi Saraswat, who has shifted to fiction editor. Llalan is the editor of the Globe Corner Bookstore blog, writes a weekly column about beer for Bostonist, and also writes weekly for Emerson College's Writing and Publishing blog, Vernacular. She is also a worthy arm-wrestling opponent and devoted Cleveland Indians fan.

Dara Cerv is helming our (de)Classified section. She has an MFA from Emerson and continues to be a Boston-area poet. Her work is forthcoming in Sixth Finch. She's currently working on a chapbook of love poems that really aren't love poems at all.

Please join us in welcoming Dara and Llalan to the Fringe family!

papercut zine library to leave harvard square?

image courtesy of gruntzooki

I saw a note in the Phoenix a couple of weeks back that the Papercut Zine Library would likely be moving out of its location on Mt. Auburn to a soon-to-be-determined location. Cynical person--ahem, old-school masshole--that I am, my first thought was that Harvard owned the building, and the zine library would be forced out to make room for some student organization. My second thought was that the landlord wanted to attract another sandwich shop or chain store to the square.

Ten years ago the square had a diner, a plethora of used and new bookstores, and independent coffee shops. While cute local businesses like Herrell's, Newbury Comics, Tealuxe and Bartley's remain, they're increasingly sharing a block with cookie cutouts of fast food and suburbia (hi, American Apparel, Lush, phone stores ad infinitum). While the above paragraph could have been written angrily in the year 2000 and still rung true, I have to ask how much longer Harvard Square can embrace the mainstream before there's anything interesting left?

Papercut opened in 2005 and houses over 7000 zines; the space also offers workshops and concerts. I got in touch with the Papercut folk recently to see if the move was going to be definite and here's what they had to say:

Hi library patrons,
At the meeting, we discussed potential spaces where the zine library could move (most likely sometime after the end of June), as well as fundraising possibilities. If you have any ideas about potential spaces, feel free to let us know. Your ideas are our bread and butter.

So...looks likely. I've asked them for some more meaty info, in the interest of passing it on, but in the meantime it looks like the same story going down in Cambridge...another fun, intelligent store forced to leave the square, another cookie cutter vacancy. Rise up, Harvard, rise up. Help use your dollars to keep the counterculture spirit of Cambridge alive.

this post brought to you by the Tasty, the House of Blues, Toscannini's, Avventura, WordsWorth, and the Starr Book Shop, some of the many fine businesses forced out of the square.

Monday, April 27, 2009

On Keeping A Notebook

"The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself."--Joan Didion, from the essay, "On Keeping a Notebook"

My first notebook came to me as a Christmas gift from my sister when I was six. She had made it in a crafts class at the junior high, and it was pink, with multicolored paper pages and the word "diary" stamped in gold on the front cover. Though I wrote in it sporadically, I didn't start keeping a faithful journal until the winter of my freshman year of high school. Writing in a notebook is a practice I've kept up with, more or less regularly, since starting that random February day. I keep twelve years' worth of notebooks in a large red storage bin in my closet here in Boston. About once a year, on some rainy Saturday, I'll pull one out and start reading. Half-forgotten memories can pull me in, sometimes for hours at a time, but mostly I tire of myself quickly and put it all away in disgust. But I would never throw them away.

In her essay, Didion says she doesn't keep a notebook as any kind of attempt to record the facts of her daily life or to fossilize the events of the world around her. So then, why? Why bother writing random snatches of thoughts, imagined encounters and half-remembered lines of dialogue? "Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point...our notebooks give us away, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implaceable 'I.'"

I had never questioned why I keep a notebook before reading this essay several weeks ago. It's just something I've always done, for better or worse. A compulsion to write things down, as Joan calls it. Though I now write for several blogs, once kept a livejournal, and can type faster than I can write, it's always been a notebook and pen that I come back to. Something about having a physical record gives me comfort.

It always surprises me to learn that some writers don't keep personal notebooks or diaries. There's nothing much of note or interest in my notebooks, except to me, but writing there helps me sort out my thoughts and get out my angst.

How many of you keep journals or notebooks? Do you have a routine or schedule?

Friday, April 24, 2009

NY Times Co. Chairman gives the Globe until May 1

Check out last night’s coverage from NECN on the latest Globe woes and Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.’s hopes to keep her going despite the need for 20 million in Union concessions. The Boston Newspaper Guild (made up of over 700 Globe employees) has a petition and is holding a rally this Friday at Faneuil Hall. BU Journalism Chair, Lou Ureneck, voices Phil Bronstein’s comments that distributing news for free is not sustainable. The NY Times Co. is keeping to its 5/1 deadline for the Union to meet its demands.

Help support the Globe by buying a paper to read on your commute (your eyes will thank you for avoiding the typos in the Metro). Or sign up for home delivery like I just did. The Globe is offering 50% off home delivery subscriptions. Every little bit helps at this point. If you’re mooching off free news (hey, my hand is raised too), it’s time to support those writers about to get the ax.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chamber Four Interview

Check out this interview with Fringe editor-in-chief Lizzie Stark over at Chamber Four. Later on, we'll be posting an interview with the minds behind Chamber Four in this space, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day with Fringe

In honor of Earth Day, why not take a gander through Fringe's most recent and environmentally-themed issue

And while you're at it, we're a mere $114 away from our website re-design goal. Consider a $5 or $10 donation through the widget on the right.

Newburyport Literary Festival

Looking for something to do this weekend? The weather promises to be gorgeous here in New England, so why not take a trip to Newburyport for the 4th Annual Newburyport Literary Festival?



Mission of Fourth Annual Festival is to Encourage “Reading for a Lifetime”

Newburyport once again welcomes local and national authors and readers alike to celebrate “Reading for a Lifetime” at the Fourth Annual Newburyport Literary Festival (NLF), organized by the Newburyport Literary Association, on April 24 – 25, 2009.

Located in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with its rich literary heritage, the NLF is a unique opportunity for local and nearby community members to meet with and to hear from well-known authors from every genre in a picturesque setting.

NLF 2009 Honorees include:

David McPhail – McPhail is an award-winning author and illustrator of nearly 200 books beloved by children, parents and librarians across the United States. McPhail is one of the most prolific and influential children’s authors in the country. McPhail has garnered many prestigious awards, including a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year for Mole Music in 2001.

Dorothy LaFrance - LaFrance recently retired from the Newburyport Public Library after serving as Head Librarian for 30 years. In addition to functioning as a City Department Head, she is a former past President of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium. In Newburyport, she is a member of several organizations include the Cultural Alliance Roundtable and the Lifelong Learning Lyceum.

“This year as the Newburyport Literary Association prepares for our fourth festival we are delighted and proud to announce our honorees,” stated the NLF Chairperson, Vicki Hendrickson. “We are so fortunate to live in a community where reading is valued and where we have folks like Dottie and David who are here to guide us along the way.”

Confirmed authors include Anita Shreve, Julia Alverez, Elinor Lipman, Richard Bausch, Peter Orner, Lewis Turco, Anne Easter Smith, David Crouse, and, of course Newburyport’s own, Andre Dubus III.

The Newburyport Literary Festival (NLF), organized by the Newburyport Literary Association, annually celebrates the joy of reading and writing as well as the love of books. The NLF in 2009 features more than 40 writers of distinguished fiction and non-fiction – including short story writers, children's authors, biographers, nature writers, critics, screenwriters, poets, novelists, and journalists – who will read and discuss their work in venues throughout Newburyport's historic downtown

For more information on the NLF, including authors and their work, please visit

*Photo courtesy of David Miller

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A few of my favorite things

One comment to my April 1st post ushering in National Poetry Month suggested that I tell you my favorite places to read poetry online. These are just a few of the many places I like to browse when I am searching for a new poem to write or want to read something besides what's on my shelves.

Mannequin Envy is a site that I enjoy as much for the poetry as for the carefully selected images that accompany the texts. The poems on the first read might seem "off the cuff," but they aren't messy first drafts. As I reader I feel that these poems hit the unexpected, get dazed, and keep going in order to do it again.

H_ngm_n: A Journal of Online Poetry and Poetics is fun to navigate, and the layout feels fresh. They publish a handful of poems and longer poems by the poets so you get a good sense of each individual voice. This poetry seems to need to be read aloud, preferably in the company of an improvisational jazz band in the background; it makes me feel like I need a cigarette and I don't even smoke.

There's no need for me to say anything about what Ploughshares offers in poetic quality since so many established writers have been published there, but what you may not know is that the web editions of each issue rotate which texts are available. So if the Duhamel poem is locked today, next week it might not be.

No Tell Motel updates with a new poem almost every day, and they usually publish several poems by each poet so sometimes I find someone I like and start looking for other things they've written that are available on the web. The styles and subjects are really varied, so if the first poem isn't to your liking, just keep scrolling down for something different.

And lastly, I adore The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Each writer has a Southern Legitimacy Statement,but they are mostly not Jeff Foxworthy rip-offs. The poetry and fiction are well-crafted contemporary pieces with dashes of regionalism, identity, and place.

So tell me what are your favorite places to read poetry (or any other genre) online?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Teh Internetz: National Poetry Month

As you should all know by now, we're smack-dab in the middle of National Poetry Month. Oh, poets! You will never make any money.

But don't worry, poor prisoners of verse. There are ways to celebrate digitally.

DailyLit, a service that will e-mail you books in manageable installments or provide them on your RSS feed, is offering free bite-sized chunks of poetry throughout April. Their Masters of Verse collection is a nice way to remind yourself of all those stanzas you had to memorize in high school. And it will give you a chance to LOL at the title choice of Good-By and Keep Cold by Robert Frost (because everyone knows the original title was STAY FROSTY).

If you're struggling to write your poetry but can't concentrate because your roommate's new girlfriend squeals like a pig and the walls in your apartment are paper-thin (for example), maybe you need a distraction-free text editor like WriteMonkey. I'm pretty sure Byron used something very similar.

And hey, do you remember the slightly scammy old Well, now it's been bought by, the Print-On-Demand (POD) company, and they will apparently give poets money sometimes.

So April is totally not the cruelest month. I mean, it's no cakewalk, but it's certainly not the worst. So suck it up, Eliot.

Monday, April 13, 2009

But I’m a writer.

Recently, at work, my position as copywriter has morphed into something ugly: Social media pimp. Or social media whore. Maybe both.

It started innocently enough. After a few weeks on the job, wanting to prove myself, I suggested including a blog on our Web site. My boss loved the idea. They had been wanting to “do more” with the site for ages, she told me, but no one had the time. Enter Julie.

So I set up our blog. Then our Twitter page. Then our blog feed. Now, I spend my mornings trolling the Web for other blogs related to what we do. I read post after post about the use of online networking and then blog about those posts. My tweets are links to other blogs and online articles. I’m blogging and linking and Twittering, reading and referring, commenting and responding.

And I have to say, though I’m using words to do these things, it doesn’t always feel like writing.

Granted, I’m not complaining. I have a job that I enjoy in a suicide-worthy economy. My co-workers are great, and my boss treats us to lunch most days.

But. Some days I long for the kind of writing you can sink your teeth into. You know, paragraphs without links. Thoughts and sentences longer than 140 words. While I know that social media is the writing train of the future and we all have to get on board, I still have my old-lady moments — moments in which I want to slow it down and take stock of what we’re missing, and losing. Because sometimes it feels like a lot.

Perhaps that can be my new Facebook status.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Phil Bronstein on the Colbert Report

I'm sure most of you had heard of the Globe's recent financial troubles. Check out San Francisco Chronicle VP and Editior, Phil Bronstein, on The Colbert Report discuss the current state of newspapers. He says that sources like AOL and Google should pay papers for linking to their content and points out that financing stories, like the Globe's breaking piece on the Catholic Church sex scandal, cost those papers lots of moolah.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Phil Bronstein
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fringe contributors: 2008 Best of the Net finalists

We're happy to announce that two Fringe contributors were finalists for the 2008 Best of the Net anthology: Jehanne Dubrow, for her "Fragment from a Nonexistent Yiddish Poet" number 22, and Pattabi Seshadri, for his poem "Chairs." Two of Jehanne's poems, which appeared originally in the excellent Mezzo Cammin, were chosen for the anthology. This year's guest judge for poetry was Dorianne Laux.

You can read #22 and three more of Jehanne's poems in Fringe issue 13. Pattabi's "Chairs" plus two more poems appear in Fringe issue 11.

Best of the Net, put out by Sundress Publications, gathers fabulous fiction and poetry from online litmags and puts it all in one spot. Each year. Since 2006. Props to Erin Elizabeth Smith, managing editor and poetry coordinator. Keep it up, Sundress! And congrats to Jehanne and Pattabi.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fringe Contributors Rock: Poetry Edition

Here's the third of a series of semi-regular posts that will showcase the fine work of Fringe contributors past. Today we look at the loads of poetry that our former contributors have tossed onto the internetAnd please remember: Fringe is still in the midst of a fundraising campaign for our web redesign. We're so close -- only $299 away from success. We need to raise the funds in the next 30, so please consider a $5 or $10 donation. It'd make a big difference to a small literary journal.

Zehra Khan's The Vinyl Studies, oil on vinyl record covers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fringe's Round Robin

Fringe Magazine ( wants your help with our first ever Round Robin! We think you and your friends will make fabulous flash fiction writers, so give us your best shot at 26 sentences. Instructions are below. We'll be posting the results on our blog after June 15th.

1. Copy and paste the instructions and story into a fresh email/Facebook note.

2. Write the next sentence of the story below. Add your name to the byline at the bottom of the story. If you want to be emailed when your story gets posted, add your email address.

3. Tag one or more friends in the note, or forward the email to one or more buddies.

4. When the story comes to a natural end or reaches 26 sentences, email the finished product to by JUNE 15. We’ll give the pieces a light edit and post them, including author names, to the Fringe blog ( under the tag “Round Robin.”

A few caveats: If a group of however many wants to tackle this, that’s fine – we don’t mind if people write more than one sentence, but do try to let the authorship to change with every sentence. You can try for something conventional, with a beginning, middle or end, or go crazy and experimental.


1. The first person to start the chain can choose from one of three initial sentences (or create your own!):
  • "Alfred did not believe in voodoo, only in himself, and the power that a well-designed business card had over lesser beings"
  • "Darcy Zicafoose, of the Washington Zicafooses, had a penchant for judo."
  • "I was never young, but I remember being young in the same way that I cannot see color but I dream of it, lush and vivid, spreading before me like a banquet."

Authors: Lizzie Stark (

Fringe needs a new website! Consider a $5 donation at

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Birds & The Bees: Green Porno

Famed Blue Velvet actress, Isabella Rossellini stars, directs, and produces the online short film series, Green Porno—a show devoted the sex lives of insects and marine life. How did I miss this?!? Apparently, Rossellini always wanted to direct films but could only think up short stories that weren't long enough for the big screen. Her chance came when The Sundance Channel wanted to produce a series for the 3rd screen (i.e. ipod, internet). Rossellini's childhood dream was to write about animals, and The Sundance Channel said sound good, but make it flashy! And what better to catch people's attention than sex? Thus, Green Porno was born. Not only is the show hilarious and scientifically accurate, but it's incredibly artistic—almost all of the costumes are made out of paper and manipulated manually. Go to the website and watch them all! Here's her piece on the mating habits of bees. Enjoy!

Fringe Contributors Rock: Prose Edition

Here's the second of a series of semi-regular posts that will showcase the fine work of Fringe contributors past. Here's what the Fringe's prose writers have been up to:
And please remember: Fringe is still in the midst of a fundraising campaign for our web redesign. We're so close -- only $299 away from success. We need to raise the funds in the next 30, so please consider a $5 or $10 donation. It'd make a big difference to a small literary journal.

Art by Zehra Khan: "Diamond (both halves)" ink on paper.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Teh Internetz: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I don't often do book reviews for Fringe. I leave that to my colleagues who are down with the learnin'. But guys, as a hardcore interweb nerd, I cannot help but force my bookish opinions on you when it comes to Quirk Books' Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. If you've been living under a non-nerd rock, then maybe you haven't heard how awesome it is. The original text by Jane Austen is melded with added scenes and twists from Seth Grahame-Smith, who I am now stalking on Twitter (@sethgs).

What you might call an exercise in ridiculous pop culture trend-huffing is probably the best book ever made. Let me repeat that: THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER MADE.

The book itself is pretty self-explanatory. I will leave other, more powerful bloggers to tell you what the reading experience is like. (Here's a hint: it's awesome, and also, there are ninjas.)

Fans of Jane Austen might balk at an old, beloved story being turned into mindless entertainment complete with explosions and Kill Bill-esque swordfights. But those fans can go to hell. You had your chance, Austen fans. You took the original story and turned it into a thousand and one incredibly boring movies with an unending stream of women with big hair playing Elizabeth and chiseled-jawed dudes playing Darcy. For the last few hundred years, we've done it your way. Now it's time to do it our way.

"Our way" is the internet's way, of course. One of the longest standing rules of the online world is that anything plus zombies is bound to be better. (Ninjas help too.)

Why do you think, months before this book even pubbed, geeks were already frothing at the mouth? Because we knew it couldn't lose.

Everything that makes Pride & Prejudice is still intact. The delicate play of relationships, the unspoken code of honor that doesn't seem to exist in our time, the pomp and circumstance of high society: it's all still there. But it's been augmented just a tad. The zombie threat does something magical here. Not only does it serve to help us through the duller scenes (I thought that ball would NEVER end!) but it steps in to inform the characterization. What had previously been merely Elizabeth's dry wit and keen intelligence is now fashioned into a killing machine. What was originally Darcy's aloofness and haughtiness is now the burden of a lone samurai warrior. These aren't parodies of Austen's characters; they have only grown to strange new heights.

The real brilliance is that the story begins well after the zombie threat has emerged, which gives our heroes ample time to adjust to life amid the undead. Being trained to kill zombies is the norm, and life can continue on despite the frequent attacks. So the original plot has plenty of space to develop with just a sprinkling of crazy violence throughout.

And, oh, did I mention there are ninjas?

Look, you're going to want to buy this book. The hope is that Quirk Books continues in this vein with other classic novels remixed with a little zombie. Can you imagine A Tale of Two Cities...and Zombies"? "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and oh wait, did I mention the zombies!?"

Time Suck: Shakespearean Insult Generator

Like Shakespeare? Feeling too high on yourself? Let the Shakespearean insult generator cut you down to size.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fringe Contributors Rock: Art Edition

Here's the first of a series of semi-regular posts that will showcase the fine work of Fringe contributors past. We'll start out with the supa-fly visual art by some of Fringe's former artists:
And please remember: Fringe is still in the midst of a fundraising campaign for our web redesign. We're so close -- only $299 away from success. We need to raise the funds in the next 30, so please consider a $5 or $10 donation. It'd make a big difference to a small literary journal.

Friday, April 3, 2009

post-Soviet splendour

For an agonisingly long stretch of time I’ve been saving all my pennies in order to explore some of the former Eastern bloc. So, in light of my imminent departure I thought it might be fitting to drop a few photographical delights in place of my usual scribbling:

Richtung Berlin/A Soviet Legacy/41 Gymnasia, Angus Boulton

Russia, Andrew Moore

Motherland, Simon Roberts

Soviet Roadside Bus Stops, Christopher Herwig

And for those who can’t stand that sort of thing, I bring you... Absence of Water, courtesy of Gigi Cifali.

My apologies for not adding any fake commentary; I’m currently in the middle of pre-packing adventures (today it’s jotting down those essential phrases I’ll probably never use). So, just in case anyone out there gets their kicks from examining the linguistic nuances between Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian, here’s a phrase I’ll sadly never get to use, translated by Omniglot into all three tongues:

Мой паветраны човен поўны вуграмі

Моё судно на воздушной подушке полно угрей

Моє судно на повітряній подушці наповнене вуграми

Um, so yes... feel enlightened.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Playing Guitar for Charity

Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. Wednesday, May 6, Everybody Wins Metro Boston is hosting a fundraiser to benefit the literacy program. I've been volunteering as part of their Power Lunch program since last fall, traveling to a South Boston elementary school once a week during my lunch break to read to William, a third grader. It's been a great experience, and besides the benefits of exposing kids to reading, I'm rediscovering my own love of Curious George, The Magic Schoolbus, and The Bearenstain Bears.

Structured like a "Battle of the Bands," this Guitar Hero fundraiser gives participants the chance to form their own bands and then duke it out for ultimate rock star supremacy. As if that's not enticing enough, when else can you say you're playing video games "for the kids"? It's a no brainer.

{Cross posted to Vernacular}

On Big G-Great and Other Trends

Apparently, when I wasn't looking (or simply not reading the New York Times, which I don't subscribe to in more ways than one), David Orr published this particularly piquant essay, "The Great(ness) Game." With plenty of nods to Donald Hall's essay, "Poetry and Ambition", it's a re-visitation of an old theme.

If you'd like to see some fallout, go to the blog "Everything's Jake" where I found the Orr article while looking for this Whitman quote: "To have great poets, there must be great audiences, too." (Didn't I say all this before? I did, in an earlier blog for Fringe.) You'll find lots of comments.

Oddly (well, maybe not), the Big Authors like Orr tend to overlook much of the young contemporary stuff. It's up to people like me to go after that meat, and in the spirit of that I ask: well, is anyone really Great these days of my Gen-X generation? Now, thinking of "Fame" and all that comes with constant publication, I wonder if Poetry doesn't lack a certain camaraderie with, say, Twitter. In other words, are the impulses that forces people to write inane and ridiculous updates the same?

For an slightly off-topic jaunt in this direction, try this article on Twitter at The News & Observer. My contention is that (sometimes, at least) today's poems are mere "tweets" if put side-by-side with the so-called Great Poems. Decide, as always, for yourself.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy National Poetry Month!

NaPoWriMo has arrived! April is National Poetry Month, and Read Write Poem is celebrating with a thirty poems in thirty days challenge. Here's my angle: write all the poems on a theme and have a draft for a chapbook. Yes, some days I might miss a poem, and on other days everything I write might frankly stink. That's what good friends and revision are for. But that won't be the case every day, and getting a few gems out of NaPoWriMo will be worth joining this big alliterative orgy of clever slant rhymes, puns, hypertexts, wit, and sharp social criticism.

An excellent place to look for inspiration is's Poem A Day e-mail list, which is also archived on the website. I could list my favorite online places to read poems, but I think it's more fun to find your own. Start with the great work on Fringe and start following links. I always arrive to something cool, most recently Hit and Run Magazine.

Still not fired up? Read Charles Bernstein's satirical Against National Poetry Month. He's right perhaps about what the aim of the corporate sponsorship of NaPoMo is about, but that's no reason to ignore perfectly good free poems a day, and if you're inspired to write anti-poems sometimes, that's good, too.