Guest Column: The Promise of Poetry in a Digital Age
We believe that PoetrySpeaks.com can solve some of the challenges poets face in getting their works, their messages and themselves in front of readers. Poets will be able to manage their own information, blog, explain and display their body of work to their own choosing, and even post their speaking or performance schedules. In essence, it’s a social network for poets and poetry lovers. Both interactive and educational, visitors will be able to create their own “favorites,” plus connect to the poets via Twitter and other social networking sites.
The site also will be a retail and marketing engine for the poets’ e-books, books, DVDs and CDs. We’ll be selling them all on the site. Finally, each section of PoetrySpeaks.com has a performance space, and we anticipate that we will be hosting or streaming poetry readings and poetry slams, and selling tickets to those performances.
For the past two months, we’ve been demoing PoetrySpeaks.com to poets and poetry publishers. The initial responses have been remarkably encouraging, with feedback suggesting it can be “artistically and financially fruitful” for poets and publishers, and is “a combination of mission and business that’s really wonderful.” And what could be more amazing than that—pioneering a new business model for something we all believe in: writing and writers.
So this, then, is the promise of poetry in the digital age. A new kind of promise. The beginning of one really.
We’re going to start relatively small, with approximately 1,000 poems. We expect to make many changes to the site as we create a space where poets and poetry (of all varieties) can be discovered, where readers will immerse themselves, engage and play. It can be a site for poets to perform, share and sell their poems. In short, it’s a marketing solution for poets and poetry publishers that will help to ease the broad challenge of marketing poetry, and we hope it will reach out to that broad audience that we have seen actually exists for poetry.