Sunday, March 31, 2013

One way blogging has shifted my engagements with poetry

Here's something. Blogging about poetry has prompted me to write about a larger number of poets than when I was only seeking to write about poets and poetry primarily for conference presentations and print publication. For those venues, the convention is to concentrate on one or two poets at a time.

At the conferences, people tend to present on a poet and a theme (i.e. Langston Hughes and the Blues Ethos; Phillis Wheatley and early America). Journal articles follow a similar path. By and large, the genre of literary academic discourse concentrates on relatively few authors.

In a way, that focus makes sense, especially since conference presentations are such a driving force in the profession. Effective 15 to 20 minute presentations are, it seems, primarily designed to expose listeners to information about one or two poets at a time, not 10 or 20.  As a result, when scholars expand their conference presentations into scholarly articles, they are inclined to write more about a few individual writers, certainly not dozens.

Covering poets on my blog over the years inclined me to alter some of my practices. Granted, researching and writing a book about the Black Arts Movement gave me invaluable experience thinking about a range of literary figures and editors. Still, the serialized nature of blogging everyday about poets and following "news" items on poetry demanded that I cast a large net.  

Writing about trends in poetry, producing timelines, and compiling poetry lists necessarily means that I'll need to reference a larger number of poets than I would, for instance, in a typical conference presentation. I'm slowly moving toward more concentrated work on my next book project, which means I'll shift toward a clearer focus and a treatment of a smaller number of writers. However, my blogging habits and experiences might lead me to place even individual writers in a larger context than I otherwise would.

My work as a Blogger vs. my work as an Author 

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