As I’ve just posted, I am now blogging for the Poetry Foundation; my first blog post, “San Francisco Poet Al Robles (1930-2009)” went up the other day. I am now officially posting on five blogs, though I am hardly active on the International Exchange for Poetic Invention blog, where I really can afford to be cross posting more between that and the PAWA blog. Speaking of the PAWA blog, poet Rachelle Cruz, host of The Blood-Jet Hour, will soon be posting the occasional review among other things.
I have also been posting to Twitter, which is sometimes helpful for directing traffic to my various blog posts, submissions calls, information about upcoming events. As many of you know, Twitter’s been acting a little strange lately, despite how many times I clean cookies and clear cache, so I haven’t been able to RT others’ tweets that I find interesting or useful. For example, Texas based poet Anise Onofre‘s been putting up some cool announcements about Gemini Ink and Aztlan Libre Press. Please check out both of these orgs. Tara Betts has been steadfastly promoting her forthcoming first book, Arc and Hue, which I hope you will also check out. No Tell Books has been promoting its titles as well as sharing news and information regarding the poetry industry.
Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor has a good post regarding the actual creative writing that occurs on the blog, as well as the substantive conversations that occur in blog and as a result of blog. I have only seen Bec in person once, when she flew into San Francisco to read for Achiote Press a couple of years back, for the chapbook issue featuring me, her, and Rich Villar. I do have to say that despite having only once spent face to face time, she and I have had some very good discussions about poetics, storytelling, and indigeneity. It was via her blog that I learned about her Tao Po! workshop, hence rounding out my Diwata manuscript’s final revisions.
Anyway, on to my point. I’m also glad to have been blogging my poem drafts here, gradually refining these, and talking out the different series I have been writing. It’s always comforting to know I am being productive. I hate the feeling of not being able to write a poem, and/or I hate suspecting that I am not writing enough poetry, even though, as Pat Rosal said in his recent Culturebot interview, “Poetry and all its affiliated efforts are my work.” This is reassuring, knowing that I do indeed engage in these “affiliated efforts” of reading, performing, hearing and seeing other authors read and perform. Still, I need to be writing poems.
(By the way, I ultimately take down many of these poems when I start submitting them to journals.)
Elsewhere in e-world, folks are ranting about how blog is killing poetry.
Let’s be totally straight about this:
Blogs are not killing poetry. Poets writing bad poetry are killing poetry.
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said this, and I agree with him. I would like to add this: Blogging is not a substitute for writing poetry and reading poetry. Blogging is not a substitute for developing effective social and marketing skills as a poet in the literary industry.
Rather than get negative about “bad poetry,” I will qualify what I believe is great poetry, the kind of poetry I find meaningful and enjoyable, which continues to be written by poets, and even blogging poets:
The poetry that tries its best to understand our place and condition in the world, spiritually, historically, culturally, politically. Poetry that seeks to connect with readers and audience, and in doing so, growing community. Poetry that grows larger than the individual I, taking on the beauty and the problem of we. Poetry that seeks to do all these things with a keen sense of music and a deep love of language.
(I copied and pasted this from my previous post on poetic greatness here.)
Here’s my list of some poetry, poetics, film, etc. blogs I’ve been reading and enjoying:
- Javier Huerta, Unitedstatesean Notes.
- Niki Escobar, Fresko City.
- Rachelle Cruz, racruzzo.
- Guillermo Juan Parra, Venepoetics.
- Benito (Sunny) Vergara, film, eyeballs, brain.
- Prometheus Brown.
- Stephen Hong Sohn, et al, Asian American Literature Fans.
- Emil Guillermo, Emil Amok.
- Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, loudpoet.
- Marianne Villanueva, Kanlaon.
- Vince Gotera, The Man with the Blue Guitar.
- Hyphen magazine blog.
- Xican@ Poetry Daily.
- Robin Tremblay-McGaw, et al, X Poetics.
- Oscar Bermeo, Intuitive Intertextuality.
I’ve decided this is what I look for in a blog: these are fairly consistently updated, and consistent content-wise, and work-wise quite focused. No dramatics, just folks plugging away.
Thank you to Rigoberto González for recommending this here blog at the National Book Critics Circle Blog’s “Spotlight on Blogs.” He tells us that he “attended a forum recently in which MFA graduate students impressed upon the audience the importance of reading blogs as a way to stay in the loop and keep abreast of the goings-on in the literary world,” with which he agreed, and then was asked which blogs he recommended. He’s compiled a list of eight blogs, a few of which I have yet to check out: Practicing Writing, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Ploughshares, Silliman’s Blog, Poeta y Diwata, Tayari’s Blog, Maud Newton, and Galleycat.
Again, this makes me think about the usefulness of blog, to the reader, but definitely to the writer, keeper, and/or curator of blog. I started blogging towards the end-ish of grad school, and only because Professor Jeffery Paul Chan had asked us to keep a writing journal for his weekly writing prompts. He then gave us the option of either submitting printed out pages, or just giving him the URL. The latter turned out to be more useful, in that our classmates were also able to “peek in” on our work in progress.