The wonderful Nic Sebastian over at Very Like A Whale (a blog I thoroughly recommend) has recently been running a series about Poets and Technology. Like How a Poem Happens, the series uses the same set of questions for each poet, which creates intriguing results. Recent poets interviewed have included Chris Hamilton-Emery, Ren Powell and Amy King.
Anyways, the point is, I’ve been thinking about a post concerning poetry and technology for a while. Obviously, technology does feature a fair whack in my poetry-life, what with me blabbering on about it through this medium that WordPress so kindly gives me for free, and using Twitter to blabber about my blog blabberings and ‘meet’ other poetry-types.
Having said all that, I’m pretty sure that I don’t use the internet’s poetry potential to the full. For some reason I’m a little bit wary of submitting to online poetry magazines– there seem to be so many without credentials, although there are some great ones like Cadaverine. I’ve already posted about the issues plaguing posting poetry online.
Characterize your general attitude as a poet towards technology
In terms of writing, I often find poem ideas when reading papers online etc. The actual process of writing is a pen and paper exercise for me. Normally I’ll make such a mess in drafting something that two or three drafts in I’ll type up a poem, but even then I print it out and make corrections by hand, rather than typing.
Do you use Facebook in your capacity as a poet? If so, how, and what are its upsides and downsides? If not, why not?
I really don’t. Wiser people than I worry about Facebook privacy laws (hi flatmate!). Even if copyright and plagiarism weren’t an issue, I don’t really view Facebook as a good vehicle, visually, for poetry.
Do you use Twitter in your capacity as a poet? If so, how, and what are its upsides and downsides? If not, why not?
Primarily Twitter is a great place to find other poets, publications and competitions etc. Unlike some more technologically advanced people, I don’t post poetry on twitter– ‘twaikus’. My twitter account is also a personal one, so it isn’t purely for poetry.
What other technologies – including blogs, websites and podcasts – do you employ in your capacity as a poet? Explain how, and the upsides and downsides of each. If none, explain why.
I love the Scottish Poetry Library Podcasts, and The Poetry Archive‘s huge stash of recordings of poets reading their work. I’m not really a bona fide ‘poet’ so to speak, more of a fan and observer. In this capacity, the technological vehicles for transmitting spoken poetry is definitely the most notable technology for me.
What has technology done for or to Poetry?
It sort of goes without saying that the internet has opened up poetry massively. Even things I forget are technological– like radio– have given poetry a wider audience. Let’s not forget the humble microphone either– improves Open Mike Nights and readings muchly.
In less obvious ways, I guess ‘found’ poetry has broadened with the ability to hear snatches of conversations on phones, in email and text. Technology gives access to a multitude of experiences that could become a poem in a way that maybe previous generations did not have.
* * *
Go and check out the other questions and answers over at Very Like A Whale!