‘Tell your story, pen your poem, sing your song. We all have tales to tell. We just have to find the voice to do it. Find the voice, tell it your way. It’s your story.’ Michael Morpurgo.
Christmas Eve in Iceland sounds fantastic to someone like me who loves books. With a population of just over 300,000, Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, and on Christmas Eve everyone exchanges books and spends the evening reading and eating chocolate. Known as the Jolabokaflod (the Christmas book flood), the majority of Iceland’s new books are published September-November in preparation for this Christmas Eve tradition. Iceland isn’t only a great nation of readers, but also of writers – 1 in 10 people in Iceland has published a book.
If you had to choose just one book to read on Christmas Eve, would it be non-fiction, short stories, novel or a poem? And if you had to write a book what form would it take?
For some it would be poetry. The internet seems to be helping in the revival in poetry, developing poetry itself into new forms. Have you come across the term “Post-Internet“? In the art world it is used to describe artists who use the world wide web as a medium in itself. A jpg of a painting is looked on as a version of a painting, their artwork as likely to be displayed on a screen as in a gallery. A similar revival and development has happened with “Post-Internet Poetry“.
Many use social media and the internet as a way to display and promote the poetry they have written. Standards vary enormously; not all poets with thousands of instagram or twitter followers have received the training to develop their craft of poetry. It is often poetry written to share with like-minded people, for immediate consumption without an eye on longevity. Some do make it on the quality of their work, building on their fame to sell print books. Atticus, for example (whose work is the image in our article header), http://says.com/ph/kulture/20-beautiful-poems-from-the-ever-enigmatic-internet-born-poet-atticus is an anonymous poet who publishes short poems or epigrams every day on instagram and twitter. He has over half a million followers on instagram https://www.instagram.com/atticuspoetry/?hl=ena . In this interview he discusses the pros and cons of poetry in social media https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/meet-atticus-the-most-famous-canadian-poet-youve-never-heard-of/article35730003/
For other post-internet poets the web is the medium itself. Drawing from published texts they weave new poetry. This technique is known as cento and has been around for centuries. However it is how the texts are sourced that is new. In Sam Riviere’s book, “Kim Kardashian’s Marriage“, a set of lyrical poems has been created by inserting keywords into Google and then turning the first ten results from each search into stanzas, without the addition of new wording. A mechanical means of creation with surprisingly sensitive results.
“We’re spreading smiles every minute
with lyrics and jokes for your personal use.
O Sovereign God transcendent!
This is an excellent song.” [Sam Riviere]
Read more about post internet poetry at http://postinternetpoetry.tumblr.com/
Here’s a small selection of resources to help you read, appreciate and write poetry.
https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/poetry-101-resources-beginners American Academy of Poets – Poetry 101: Resources for Beginners
https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem-day American Academy of Poets Poem-a-Day
http://100.best-poems.net/ Best poems encyclopaedia.
https://allpoetry.com/poems The web’s largest poetry writing group.
http://lithub.com/30-poets-you-should-be-reading/ Literary Hubs’ 2016 list of contemporary poets they recommend you read.
http://www.mememaker.net/template/poetry Create a meme of lines of your favourite poems.
http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/ A national poetry recitation competition for 14-18 year olds.
www.poetryarchive.org records poets reading their own works for posterity and makes partial recordings available online.
http://thepoetryhour.com/ hosts classical and modern poetry and includes video readings by celebrities. It’s also possible to upload your own photograph and make a meme with it using a line from one of their poems.
Back to my question at the beginning. If you are feeling inspired to write but poetry isn’t your thing then try:
https://www.nownovel.com/blog/151-important-novel-writing-resources/ 151 Important Novel Writing Resources (which actually has more than 151 links now!)