Finding Poetry Online

by Greg Knollenberg
The Internet Writing Journal, December 1998

Poetry has been given new life and a new dimension with the development of the World Wide Web. The Web provides a perfect medium for poets, allowing them to post their poetry on newsgroups, message boards, webpages, ezines and in the body of email. Practicing poets are able to post a poem on a message board or newsgroup and receive almost instant feedback from other poets around the world. In addition, numerous poetry ezines have appeared allowing poets thousands of publications in which to showcase their work. For scholars the Web also provides countless resources for discussing and reading classic poetry from renowned poets. This article will introduce you to some excellent poetry resources and provide you a solid starting point from which you can conduct your own exploration of online poetry.

Poetry Links

Poetry links can be found using the major search engines and entering keywords such as "poetry" or "poetry magazine" or a more specific keyword such as "haiku". For more detailed information about using search engines refer to the article titled, "Effective Use of Search Engines," which appeared in a previous edition of The Internet Writing Journal. In addition to search engines, another way to begin your research is with sites that categorize links to hundreds of poetry related websites. Some excellent sites which provide poetry links include WWar and Zuzu's Petals Literary Resource. The special poetry sections of Yahoo, LookSmart, Infoseek and Excite are also great starting points.

Resources for Poets

There are many resources for aspiring poets online. Some great sites to start with include Writers Write® Poetry, which contains links, message boards, poetry markets and chat, and Poets & Writers Online, the online version of the print magazine by the same name, which contains articles, resources and Speakeasy, a facility for online discussion of poetry and writing. Another excellent resource, the Electronic Poetry Center, contains an extensive collection of links to the websites of hundreds of poetry presses as well as links to online publications, current poets and poetry resources. Websites of established poetry organizations such as the Academy of American Poets and Poetry Society of America also act as resources for poets providing links, membership benefits and information. The Poetry Society of America's website includes The PSA Journal which includes advice from editors about how to get your poems published, and a resource section with poetry links. Other organizations online with information for poets include The National Endowment for the Arts, League of Canadian Poets, and the Modern Language Association. Interactive poetry workshops can also be found on the Web. Another great resource for poets, is this poetry glossary from Poetry Foundation. It contains hundreds of poetry terms which will help writers just learning the subject and also help those who write poetry critiques. The glossary includes definitions, phonetic pronunciation and examples of how the term is used. Other online poetry resources include Poetry.Miningco.com, Poem.org, Arts Wire, Poetry.com and the Open Scroll. General writing publications and resources may also contain articles and information relevant to poets. To find writing resources browse through the Writers Write®'s Writing Links section for websites which contains information on different genres and style of writing including poetry.

Classic Poetry Literature

The Web is an excellent resource for classic literature. There are servers and websites, often located at Universities, that provide free access to thousands of poetry and prose manuscripts. All Poetry contains hundreds of works by famous and amateur poets. The Internet Classics Archives at MIT contains over 400 classic works converted to web-form. Another resource is the Online Library of Literature which contains a great collection of works by several authors. Other classic poetry literature resources include Reference Desk's Literature Links, British Poetry: 1780-1910 and OzLit (Australian Poetry).

Favorite Poets

Students, universities and individuals have created webpages dedicated to their favorite poets. These sites contain articles, critiques, works by the author and links to other resources. Some examples of specific sites for poets include the following websites: Maya Angelou, Emily Bronte, Sheakespeare, and Walt Whitman. The Bartleby website contains features on poets including T.S. Eliot, G.M. Hopkings, D.H.Lawrence and Oscar Wilde. Each features contains a biography, bibliography and selected poems. The Department of English at the University of Toronto provides an index of poets which contains hundreds of poets with samples of poetry they have written. There are many more websites for poets in addition to these. Try the LookSmart directory or the Yahoo! directory of poets to find more poet websites.

Poetry Publications

Poetry publications abound on the Web. There are thousands of ezines that publish poetry of all kinds. Some of them are serious literary publications, some are small ezines run by one person who is the editor, producer and publisher, and some are sites that simply allow visitors to post their poems at will. Finding these poetry sites is not difficult. If you are looking for the high-end literary publications a great place to start is Literary Arts Webring, which is an interconnected group of the literary elite, including publications such as Atlantic Monthly, Mississippi Review, Missouri Review, Poetry Cafe and Web Del Sol. Some other poetry publications that are also worth visiting but not listed in the Literary Arts Webring are Poetry Express, Snakeskin Poetry Webzine, Poetry Magazine, Pif, Swagazine, ELF : Eclectic Literary Form, TimBookTu and A Little Poetry. More poetry publications can be found with John Labovitz's e-zine-list which includes over 350 poetry ezines. Listings in the e-zine-list include a description of the ezine, contact information, web links and details on how to submit material. Zuzu's Petals also contains a comprehensive collection of literary publications and ezines, in addition to its own electronic quarterly publication, Zuzu's Petals Quarterly. Other resources for poetry publications include Excite, Yahoo, and the Electronic Poetry Center. If you like receiving email you can also subscribe to Poetry Daily -- and a new poem will arrive in your email box each day. More poetry email newsletters and mailing lists can be found on Liszt.com.

There are many other interesting poetry sites such as the Java Poetry Server which allows you to create poems with your mouse by moving words around on the screen similar to the Magnetic Poetry Kit found in stores.

New Medium for Poetry

The Internet has created a new forum for poetry. Poetry, which is often shorter than a short story, can easily be delivered by email, posted on message boards and webpages and entered into databases. This ease of delivery has created what is now an enormous amount of poetry literature available online ranging from off-beat underground poetry to classic poetry literature. Clearly the Web has become a new medium for poetry as it has for so many other forms of communication. If you are a serious Poet or you dabble in poetry for fun there is sure to be something to interest you online.


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