Monday, April 6, 2015
The value of lists about African American poetry
Before becoming a blogger, I created lists, but almost never shared them publicly. Why would I? Aside from bibliographies, much of the publishing we do comes in the form of narrative prose (i.e. paragraphs), not lists.
Yet, something about the genre or format of blogging inclined me to create all these various lists. I created timelines, lists of poetry volumes; a list of anthologies, the coverage of Amiri Baraka's passing, Kevin Young's many books, a roundup of #BlackPoetsSpeakOut selections, you name it. The lists helped me organize large chunks of data on poetry out there, and in the process it helped me create resources for readers.
The information and data on African American poetry seem overwhelming and unwieldy to me at times, and I study the material. How difficult is it for novices? Blogging and then creating these lists gave me opportunities to assist folks trying to navigate the field.
The lists have also become really helpful for me as well. The links and lists allow me to work my way backward on topics that I've covered over the years in a time efficient manner. For instance, when I prepare to write a conventional articles on "bad men" in poetry, I'll consult my list of previous writings on the topic. I'll take a similar approach when producing writing on poems about slavery and struggles for liberation.
• A Notebook on the value of blogging about African American poetry